La Crosse Co. Health Dept. post food inspection reports on web

Published On: Aug 21 2013 06:46:24 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 22 2013 08:30:12 AM CDT
LA CROSSE, WI -

Finding out how a favorite eating establishment stacks up when it comes to routine health inspections just became a little easier.

On Monday, the La Crosse County Health Department made the latest health-inspection reports for nearly 500 food establishments in the county available on its website.

“I would want to know if there are issues as a consumer going out to various restaurants or services,” said Cathy Bauer, the owner of Cabin Coffee in La Crosse.

Some places only had one or two violations.

“There were a couple of minor issues,” said Bauer.

Cabin Coffee had its annual inspection at the beginning of the year. The report found some old meat that needed to be thrown out.

“Then there was an issue with just how our triple-sink was set up,” said Bauer.

That violation was easily fixed with the addition of a plastic tub.

Other establishments had as many as 11 violations, including everything from improper hand-washing stations to equipment not functioning at the right temperature.

“Those would be things that could cause illness,” said Jim Steinhoff of the La Crosse County Health Department. “That would be a good indication of a serious problem.”

“Our goal is always 100 percent,” said Traci Weber, one of the owners of 4 Sisters Tapas and Wine in La Crosse.

The restaurant’s inspection in January showed five violations.

“(The) thermostat was in the cooler, but it wasn't where they could see it, the eggs were on the second shelf instead of the first shelf, the Cambros were turned upside down so we had to turn them right side up,” said Weber.

The kitchen's dishwasher temperature was also not hot enough.

Weber said all of the corrections were made instantly.

Both locations see the reports as a benefit to their business and for their customers.

“You're serving food to people, so you have to make sure you have all your systems in place, and when you have it that way, I feel you have a way more functional kitchen,” said Weber.

Inspections typically happen once a year, so the latest report is what's posted online.

Food establishments also go through a followup inspection to make sure the violations have been corrected.

The Health Department is also working on making those reports available to the public. That should be coming in the near future.

In addition to eating establishments, inspection reports for mobile home parks, lodging and camping establishments as well as schools can be found on the County health department's website.