San Francisco Revokes Hundreds of Restaurant Health Certificates

City attorney investigation finds health inspectors illegally authorized health certificates

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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San Francisco Revokes Hundreds of Restaurant Health Certificates

Restaurants across the City could face closure because of rogue health inspectors.

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In what's being called an unprecedented move, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has been forced to nullify the food safety manager certification at 345 San Francisco restaurants—plus another 183 outside the city—because of "inappropriate testing and certification procedures" on the DPH's part.

The decision comes at the end of an investigation by the City Attorney's office that uncovered shenanigans by three DPH food inspectors, who apparently went rogue and/or screwed up the certification examination process, either by not giving the test at all or giving away the answers.

"We understand that obtaining a new certification is time-consuming and that the need to do so in the next 60 days may be frustrating," the Department of Public Health's Occupational and Environmental Health Director, Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, wrote in letters to affected restaurants and certificate holders. 

Two of the three food inspectors were fired and the City is investigating the third inspector, the department said.

But here's what it means for the hundreds of affected eateries, so listen up restaurateurs. Per state law, all restaurants must have an owner/employee who has passed the food safety exam. Even though the DPH has determined that there's no wrongdoing or immediate safety problems on the restaurants' parts, the affected restaurants must still get new certification and they will have 60 days to obtain it, so hop to it.

Eater SF contributed to this story.

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