The public now has immediate access to restaurant inspection reports.
Restaurant owners have long been required to post that information at their business. But now consumers can check out the cleanliness and safety of a restaurant from their home computer.
The reports are made available by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
You can view individual reports for various restaurants, to see if they passed or failed their most recent inspection. The web site also lists specific areas of review and how the restaurant was graded in various categories.
The information allows the consumer to make an informed decision before going out to eat.
Customers often grade restaurants by quality of service, along with the taste and selection of food. The on line inspection reports give consumers something else to consider.
Cindy Labbie of Biloxi likes the idea.
"Yes I do. Then you'll know if you're going to eat in a clean spot. Everybody's interested in cleanliness," she said.
"If I know it's there, I'll check it out and stay away from the restaurants that don't meet the requirements. Why eat some place where you know you're going to get sick," said Rusty Landry of Gulfport.
The owner of Toucan's Mostly Mexican Restaurant told us she has no problem with the health department, providing public access to the inspections.
"It's good for them to be able to check out and see whether or not the restaurant has passed their inspection or failed," said Patty Jenkins.
The web site not only gives you easy access to the most recent health department inspection report for your favorite restaurant, you can also check out a restaurant's past performance by viewing inspection reports from the past few years.
Dr. Bob Travniceck with the Health Department says the on line information allows the consumer to make an informed choice about eating out.
"They have the most current information before they ever go to the restaurant. They can actually make the decision without ever going there," he said.
Customers we talked with say they're certainly interested in checking out those restaurant reports.
"I think I would, yes. Because cleanliness is real important to me," said Peggy Williams of Hattiesburg.
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