City of Amarillo: New state law could bring changes to food inspection reports

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The City of Amarillo’s Environmental Health Department says state law has changed bringing changes to food inspection reports.

Anthony Spanel, City of Amarillo’s Environmental Health director says these new laws went into effect August 2021 and it reflects 95 percent of the 2017 FDA food code and 5 percent Texas food establishment rules, this new law does not include a scoring mechanism.

He says it just doesn’t exist, so as a community we now have to make a choice to continue with what we are doing now or do something different.

Spanel says we are currently using an alpha-numerical system, which he says has received national recognition from many different states and organizations across the country.

He says the district will continue to use this system until they come up with something else.

“We didn’t have time to plan to be ready, we kind of got blindsided by it just a little bit, we are currently using the old system and that is just what we have until we can implement these change.s I would anticipate it being a 12-month project, we have to do a lot of software changes, a lot of software implementation and updating. We have to work with the Panhandle Restaurant Association, work with the community and building that into a local ordinance or changing it, that stuff just doesn’t happen overnight,” said Spanel.

Spanel says his recommendation is to find a way to keep some kind of scoring mechanism in place, he says without it, it would bring a drastic impact to the community because people like to be able to easily interpret scores, so they can make an educational decision before going out to eat.

“It would be much harder for people to understand the things that we write down, in an easy intuitive type of way,” said Spanel.

Amarillo restaurants like, Tyler’s Barbeque and The Big Texan agree that they would like to see scores continue to be implemented and post them in their restaurants.

Danny Lee, Co-owner of The Big Texan, says scores are a reflection of their restaurant and they enjoy being able to say when they are doing good and even put their face out there when they need to do better.

“I’m amazed at how many people will come in they’ll sit there and look at that, review it they’ll even post about it again the good and the bad both go along with it,” said Lee.

Lee says he likes the alpha-numerical system that is currently in place.

The owner of Tyler’s barbeque says he also likes how Amarillo uses numbers in their system.

“I really like the number system because we all grew up getting grades 1-100, so everybody can immediately loom at that and whether or not you get an A if you’re a is say a 99 or your a is a 91 there may be a big difference in that or the same thing on a B or a C,” said Tyler Frazer, owner of Tyler’s Barbeque.

Frazer says he supports having a scoring mechanism and likes being able to post it in their restaurant.

“I’m a big fan of that because I eat at other places and I’d like to know how they do I would like to know when we go into a restaurant that if people are supposed to wash their hands, they wash their hands and one of the things I think sometimes people take for granted is food safety and its extremely important it’s important to have customers come back again and again and again and if you don’t take food safety very seriously then you’re going to have a problem sooner or later,” said Frazer.

The Environmental Health Department encourages the community to be involved in the process.

They say you can reach out to them on Facebook or email them with any feedback or ideas.

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