The South Dakota Department of Health and Office of Health Protection Issues is posting the scores of food facilities, including food service, lodging, and campground establishments, online. That state is joinging Kansas and New York City in this endeavor. There are 5,900 establishments that sell food to people in that state. The new website gives consumers access to these scores.
The government stresses that “it is important to remember that the score is one snapshot of an establishment’s operation and any violations observed on the day of inspection. For a more complete and accurate representation, consumers should review a facility’s scores over time and consider whether violations are critical or non-critical.” The consumer website includes scores from the four most recent inspections, and whether any violations listed are critical or non-critical.
In the last licensing period, 94% of South Dakota’s licensed food vendors scored 85 or higher, and 91% of the 220 licensed campgrounds and 98$ of the 1400 licensed lodging establishments scored 90 or higher. While these scores are important, it’s equally important that you, the consumer, look for possible problems when you eat out. As we’ve said before, bacteria don’t care if you spend a lot of money at a fancy restaurant or eat at a food truck. A good rating or score doesn’t guarantee safety.