How Often Food Establishments Are Inspected

The Food and Drug Administration recommends frequency of routine inspections according to the level of risk posed by how food is prepared and who eats it: convenience stores once a year, quick-service operations twice a year, full-service restaurants three times, nursing home/hospital kitchens four times. The agency encourages localities to adjust the guidelines for various reasons, including resources.
Nearly all places adjust downward. A sampling:1
Inspections every:
Establishments 3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
Local counties
Philadelphia 11,992 1% 0% 2% 97% 0% 0%
Bucks 2,600 0% 0% 80% 20% 0% 0%
Chester 2,660 0% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0%
Montgomery 3,756 0% 0% 88% 12% 0% 0%
Pa. Dept. of Agriculture2 45,026 0% 0% 4% 96% 0% 0%
Burlington 1,895 0% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0%
Camden 3,450 0% 0% 31% 62% 0% 7%
Gloucester 1,032 0% 0% 0% 74% 0% 26%
Other cities
Baltimore 5,830 0% 46% 25% 0% 0% 29%
Chicago 14,867 0% 0% 0% 42%3 23%3 0%
Denver 4,258 0% 0% 44% 25% 29% 2%
Los Angeles 38,700 0% 45% 24% 31% 0% 0%
New York 24,000 0% 0% 9%4 85%4 0% 0%
Pittsburgh 7,297 0% 0% 16% 66% 0% 19%
Phoenix 26,530 26% 23% 38% 13% 0% 0%
Toronto 16,115 0% 37% 39% 24% 0% 0%
Local counties
Philadelphia 11,992 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
1% 0% 0% 99% 0% 0%
Bucks 2,600 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 0%
Chester 2,660 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0%
Montgomery 3,756 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 88% 12% 0% 0%
Pa. Dept. of Agriculture2 45,000 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 4% 96% 0% 0%
Burlington 1,891 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0%
Camden 3,450 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 27% 64% 0% 9%
Gloucester 1,032 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 0% 74% 0% 26%
Other cities
Philadelphia 11,992 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
1% 0% 0% 99% 0% 0%
Baltimore 5,830 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 46% 25% 0% 0% 29%
Chicago 14,867 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 0% 42% 3 23% 3 0%
Denver 2,390 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 0% 44% 52% 3%
Los Angeles 38,700 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 45% 24% 31% 0% 0%
New York 24,000 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 9%4 85%4 0% 0%
Pittsburgh 7,297 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 0% 16% 66% 0% 19%
Phoenix 26,530 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
26% 23% 38% 13% 0% 0%
Toronto 16,115 establishments
Inspections every:
3 mos. 4 mos. 6 mos. 12 mos. 18 mos. 24 mos.
0% 37% 39% 24% 0% 0%


1 Data were supplied by each jurisdiction and may not be comparable.

2 The state conductions inspections for localities without health departments, including much of Delaware County.

3 Chicago: An additional 35 percent are inspected only at license renewal or in response to a complaint.

4 New York: An additional 1.5 percent are inspected every three to five months; frequencies are determined entirely by number of violations found in previous inspection cycle.

SOURCE: Inquirer research by DON SAPATKIN
The Philadelphia Inquirer