Pa. overhauls restaurant inspection law

    A new law will overhaul the way Pennsylvania’s restaurants are inspected.

    The law imposes a uniform set of safety standards for every restaurant, whether it’s state or local officials carrying out inspections.

    Up until now, counties and municipalities were able to set their own benchmarks.

    Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said every report will also be posted online.

    “I think that’s going to be the big change. We certainly saw it in the state, when we went to an online system,” said Redding.

    “As soon as you know that your inspection is online, for the public view, you certainly are more attuned to making those little changes that are important for food safety.”

    The law also lets inspectors weigh restaurants based on risk, so higher-priority eateries with more vulnerable food can be inspected more often than, say, convenience stores carrying prepackaged snacks.

    Redding said the Agriculture Department has been pushing for the changes for more than five years. The law will go into effect in January.

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