October 15, 2019

Chicago Public Health Inspector Who Took Bribes Heads To Prison

A retired Chicago public health inspector who took almost $100,000 in bribes was sentenced to two and half years in federal prison last week. Maryanne Koll who taught food service sanitation classes and administered state certifications is alleged to have accepted at least $96,930 in bribes in exchange for fraudulently arranging to provide 531 people with certifications as food sanitations managers.

Prison CellsKoll, 69, who operated Kollmar Food Safety Institute from her home in Burr Ridge, Ill., was convicted of one count of bribery conspiracy in federal court in September 2011. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber sentenced her to 30 months in prison and ordered her to begin serving the sentence on Dec. 31, 2012.

llinois state law requires that all food service establishments have someone on site who s certified as a food service sanitation manager. The coursework for this certification includes 15 hours of training on various topics including  foodborne illnesses, time/temperature relationships, personal hygiene, pest control and prevention of food contamination.

From 1995 to 2007, Koll was authorized by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to teach the state-approved coursework and to administer the certification exams. During that time, she certified individuals who had not taken the coursework or passed the exams in exchange in exchange for cash bribes.

Food safety education and training is one of the most important ways to reduce foodborne illness. Every year, one sixth of all Americans are sickened by foodborne pathogens incurring $365 million in direct medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

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