I started my career in public health inspecting restaurants, motels and the like in the mid- 1980s. My area was right around here down toward South Mountain- and I inspected the cafeteria in the basement of the Executive Tower and the cafeteria that used to be on the 4th floor of the 1740 building. It doesn’t seem like that was 25 years ago- but life is funny that way.
Our department’s core environmental health responsibilities include administering the statewide public health sanitation program for food safety, bottled water, hotels and motels, children’s camps, public schools, and public and semi-public swimming pools. We delegate the actual inspection work to the county health departments. Statewide, there are about 170 Sanitarians employed by the counties to inspect the restaurants and food stores in AZ. We finished our statewide FY ’11 Annual Report last week. Last fiscal year the system completed about 75,000 food safety inspections among the 34,000 food establishments in AZ.