The Tennessee departments of Health and Agriculture have partnered to develop a mobile app that allows users to check any Tennessee restaurant inspection score no matter where they are located.
The free app, available for both iOS and Android, lets users view health inspection scores from Tennessee restaurants and retail stores that prepare food, including grocery stores and convenience markets. The first screen of the app displays a map showing restaurants near the user and the most recent score for each location. It also includes scores for hotels, hospitals, schools and food trucks' central kitchens. Users will have access to the last three inspection scores for each business and if any violations were cited, the app provides information about what was not in compliance with the Tennessee Retail Food Safety Act.
Updated daily, the feature that makes the app different from Web-based inspection scores is the ability for users to personalize it to see what is most important to them. Locations can be saved to a Favorites list for quick access to scores, and search results can be filtered to show only locations that have scores within a certain range. The Restaurant Inspection Scores app was developed by NIC, Inc., Tennessee's eGovernment Partner since 2000. To obtain the app, go to http://tn.gov/main/article/
Tennessee's more modern Food Safety Act goes into effect July 1, 2015. It allows the departments of Agriculture and Health to continue to partner closely with food service establishments. It also gives restaurant owners and staff more flexibility in addressing risks specific to their operations while assuring compliance with state law and delivery of safe foods. Among the new provisions of the strengthened Food Safety Act are additional education and certifications for those in the industry, eliminating bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, guidance for working with those highly susceptible to food-related problems and more training with procedures and special processes.
"The implementation of these regulations aligns Tennessee more closely with national standards," said Shanna Lively, TDA Food Administrator. "Food safety is our top priority. The changes to the food code will allow our inspectors to focus on areas that are considered high risk, and will reinforce stores' efforts to prevent foodborne illnesses."
"Inspectors with our department, as well as those representing the Department of Agriculture, have a common goal: to work cooperatively with those in the food service business to ensure every venue provides the safest food possible to every customer," said Hugh Atkins, TDH director of Environmental Health. "We've been working one-on-one with staff in many restaurants, providing additional training to ensure all new standards are met."
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture ensures safe and dependable food and fiber for the citizens of Tennessee, while promoting local produce and products and conserving our natural resources. For more information about the department and its food safety focus, visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/.
NIC, Tennessee Information Division helps Tennessee build and maintain the state's official web portal TN.gov, and hundreds of online services that allow citizens and businesses to interact more efficiently with state government.