- How Did we establish safety of "Safe restaurants"
Alameda County inspects every restaurant to see if they meet food and safety standards (direct link to the county's Department of Environmental Health site can be found here). They release the inspection data and all of the violations that restaurants had ( for example, the food contact surfaces weren't clean). For every restaurant on this site we cross-referenced their violations (if they had any) with FDA COVID-19 related food safety recommendations. To establish food safety readiness of the restaurants we considered only those violations that can directly or indirectly impact to COVID-19 related exposure . If a restaurant had such a violation we made note of it. If it didn't have any such violations I considered the restaurant safe to eat at.
LIST VIOLATIONS CONSIDERED
Among many different violations identified by Alameda County inspectors we have only considered a small subset which we felt are directly related to increased exposure to COVID-19.
Food contact surface not clean (Directly Related to increased exposure)
Hands not clean and properly washed gloves not used (Direct)
Ware washing facilities not installed, maintained, used (Indirect)
Non-food contact surfaces not clean ( Indirect)
Not Washing fruits and vegetables (Indirect)
THE "SAFE RESTAURANTS" ON THIS SITE ARE LIKE HIGHLY LIKELY TO MEET OR EXCEED FD COVID-19 RELATED FOOD SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS.
- if the restaurants are not saFe how do they still have "Pass" certificates from the county?
We are still trying to investigate this with all the resources we have but our guess is that some of the violations like "food contact surface not clean" is probably not considered serious enough a violation in regular times (i.e. when we are not dealing with pandemic like the one we are dealing with right now). The county likely takes restaurant closure very seriously and only a more serious violation like "vermin infestation" is considered serious enough to warrant shutting down a restaurant. One would expect county to update its guidelines on "violation severity" after the pandemic is over but that's just a guess.
- Are "safe restaurants" guaranteed to be safe?
The site is for information purposes only. We have clearly described our methodology. Its up to you to draw any conclusion you like based on the information provided on the site.