In Virginia, restaurant inspection reports are not quite as simple as getting a letter grade or an easy-to-see number rating to post in the front window.
With that said, we all want to know how our favorite restaurants stack up on cleanliness and sanitation.
A "critical violation" is one that "poses a direct or immediate threat to the safety of the food being served." Non-critical violations are generally related to cleaning or maintenance.
"Ideally, an operation would have no critical violations, or none which are not corrected immediately and not repeated. In our experience, it is unrealistic to expect that a complex, full-service food operation can routinely avoid any violations," according to the Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) website.
The site continues: "Keep in mind that any inspection report is a 'snapshot' of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a restaurant could have fewer or more violations than noted in the report. An inspection conducted on any given day may not be representative of the overall, long-term cleanliness of an establishment."
In the past month, the following Falls Church restaurants have been inspected by the VDH. The full reports can be accessed on the health department's website.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, 130 N. Washington St., Oct. 16 (date of inspection)
1 critical (one or more of the elements of an effective employee health policy is either missing or incomplete) and 1 non-critical violation; 1 corrected during inspection. See the full report here.
Falls Church Community Center (senior center food service) 223 Little Falls St., Oct. 17 (lunch is served here Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, according to the Virginia Health Department)
1 non-critical violation: The nonfood-contact surfaces of the following equipment were observed soiled with an accumulation of dust, dirt, food residue, and/or other debris: inside of refrigerator and inside of cabinets. See the full report here.
Happy Family, 301 S. Washington St., Oct. 4
*(see below) During a regular inspection, the restaurant received 0 violations. But during a Risk Factor Assessment, Inspection, the eatery received 8 critical violations.
8 critical violations. Foods were not stored correctly and utensils weren't clean. Violations were corrected during inspection. See the full report here.
Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, 7130 Leesburg Pike, Oct. 4
1 critical, 1 non-critical See the full report here.*ROUTINE inspection: This is a comprehensive, unannounced inspection during which the EHS will evaluate foodborne illness risk factors, public health interventions and good retail practices to determine compliance with regulations.
RISK FACTOR ASSESSMENT INSPECTION: This is a specialized, unannounced inspection during which the EHS will evaluate foodborne illness risk factors and public health interventions to determine compliance with specific critical and non-critical sections of the regulations.