March 12th, 2013 11:49 am | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD News | Posted In: Legislature

Senate Says Publicly Run Restaurants Need Inspections

WW Story on Norovirus at Oregon Zoo Restaurant Prompts Legislation

food_friedegg_3828IMAGE: Clara Ridabock

The Oregon Senate voted today to require restaurants run by public entities to undergo routine health inspections.

The 29-0 vote eliminates the inspection exception for publicly-run restaurants. The legislation comes on the heels of reporting by WW in December that revealed the Oregon Zoo had not been inspected by Multnomah County since 2006. Earlier that month, 135 people were sickened by norovirus at the zoo restaurant, run by Metro, the area's regional government.

State laws require privately-run restaurants to obtain a license and undergo inspections every six months. but as WW reported, public agencies operated under a loophole.

“Customers expect food from diners, cafes, and bistros to be prepared in clean and safe kitchens,” said Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland), who sponsored the bill. “Restaurants operated by public entities should have to go through the same inspections as all other places that prepare food.”

Shields' press release mentioned Oregon Health and Science University as another publicly run entity whose restaurants will now fall under regular inspections.

The bill now moves to the Oregon House of Representatives.

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