The Benton Franklin Health Department routinely checks at least 1,000 food vendors and restaurants in the two counties, making what are called often drop-in inspections of their food preparation, serving and storage areas and other aspects of the establishment.

The Health Department assigns either RED or BLUE violations for violations of health codes. Red is considered more serious, and they're done on a point system.  A restaurant with 25 red points or less usually doesn't make their list of facilities that would merit serious attention.  It could be as simple as moving dirty dishes to another location and making sure kitchen wiping cloths are in a bucket of warm water, instead of cold. That could incur a number of red points, but are not considered serious.

However, when a facility gets 40-50, 60 or more red points, it becomes more significant.  Based upon inspections done during June, the following businesses were dinged:

  • Fiesta Foods Deli (95 red violations) June 29th. HOWEVER, a followup inspection June 30 showed they were all cleared.
  • Shang Hai Restaurant on Clearwater, Kennewick June 27th. 60 Red violations.
  • Wild Boar Restaurant, Benton City June 29th. 55 Red violations, 5 blue.
  • Sonic Drive In, Burden Blvd. Pasco June 28th. 40 Red violations.

The highest number of violations occurred at La Cocina Restaurant in Pasco June 23rd. An inspection revealed 100 Red violations.

Jessica Davis of the Health Department said:

"Each one (violation) has a point value. The Higher the points, the risky it is, the more potential for illness. We do inspections for every permit we issue, usually annually. We do inspections randomly."

As was seen in the case of Fiesta Foods, businesses are given opportunities to correct Red violations, and in most cases, they are quickly taken care of.  Follow up visits are conducted to make sure issues are fixed, and codes being followed.