City of Austin Performance Report 2015-16

Number of Routine Inspections Per Fixed Food Establishment (City)

Measure Description
This measure assesses the rate of inspections per fixed food establishments in the city of Austin. The goal is to provide two routine inspections each year for every fixed food establishment (restaurants, retail food stores and wholesale food products).  The goal is based on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Voluntary Standards and the State of Texas Food Establishment Rules adopted by the City of Austin.
Calculation Method
This measure is calculated by dividing the number of routine inspections for fixed establishments by the number of fixed food establishments in the database.
FY 2015-16 Results
The FY 2015-16 goal for this measure was 2.0 inspections per fixed food establishment. The actual result was 1.82, a decrease from 2.1 in FY 2014-15.
Assessment of Results
Over the last five fiscal years, the number of fixed food establishments have grown from 4,524 to 5,176, a net increase of 652 establishments requiring 1,304 inspections. These numbers do not include food establishments located in unincorporated areas of Travis County. The Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD) was approved for an additional six Environmental Health Officer (Sanitarian) positions for fixed food establishments in October 2014.  In FY 2014-15, this allocation of new inspector positions enabled EHSD to reach our goal.
The primary reason for the decrease in routine inspections conducted in FY 2015-16, is the significant ongoing turnover of the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) positions. In FY 2015-16, the Consumer Health Program responsible for the fixed food establishment inspections, lost six EHO field inspection staff (30%). This turnover resulted in vacant inspection districts and lost inspection time due to increased training of new inspectors. 
Next Steps
A recent market study resulted in increased salaries for Sanitarians, which should help reduce turnover and increase the frequency of inspections. The goal of 2.0 inspections per fixed food establishment remains in place for FY 2016-17; however, the Department plans on transitioning to a risk-based model that will result in restaurants being inspected either more or less frequently per year based on the level of risk inherent in their operations.
Contact Information
For more information contact David Lopez, Assistant Director, Environmental Health Services, at (512) 978-0303.