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Restaurant inspections follow certain guidelines

I see the restaurant inspections in the paper and was wondering how restaurants are scored.

— Haley J., MedfordRestaurants are scheduled for one inspection every six months, according to the Health Restaurant Scoring guide for Oregon. Inspectors look for violations on three different levels: priority items, priority foundation items and core items. 

A violation of a priority item is the most serious offense and can directly contribute to food contamination or illness. Such problems include poor temperature regulation of food and improper cooking, among other things. These issues can create a bacteria-rich environment that puts consumers at risk for food-borne illnesses.

A priority foundation item, if left uncorrected, can escalate into a priority item. These violations include hand-washing locations, proper date-marking procedures and cleaning of food contact surfaces.

Core items could impede the restaurant's daily operations. Examples of these violations are a lack of cleanliness and maintenance, or improper equipment being used in the restaurant.

An inspector will check for these violations during the visit, and the restaurant scores come from the scheduled semi-annual visit.Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.