LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Keeping people safe and healthy. That's the intention behind the Arkansas Department of Health's decision to make restaurant inspections publicly available online.
After a lengthy battle over transparency, the health department will soon make it easier for the public to search health inspection reports for restaurants in the state.
At All Aboard Restaurant in Little Rock, owner Vince Schallenberg works closely with the department to make sure his restaurant is always up to code.
"They check temperatures, they look at the product, they really want to make sure your coolers, your equipment is working," he said.
Steve Shuler with Rock City Eats said food inspection reports have always been public record, but on Friday it will become easier to view inspection results.
"Now, it's just going to be at your fingertips," Shuler said. "You’re going to be able to pull it up on your laptop, your smart phone, instantly see how restaurants are doing."
Schallenberg said the online portal will allow restaurant patrons and owners to view retail food inspection results.
“They should be informed. There are so many online reviews. Sometimes they don't tell the whole story," Schallenberg said. "When they see the report online, you can actually divulge more information. Know what you're getting."
Shuler said in the past not having food inspections available online raised unnecessary questions.
"The restaurant owner is going to be able to say here's our record, here's our rating, here's how we've been doing over time. For most restaurant owners it's going to be a real boom," Shuler said.
Schallenberg is happy to have a way for customers to feel good about eating at his restaurant.
"It's just something to give the guests that confidence that when they come in they're getting a good quality product in a safe environment," he said. "That's a great peace of mind to have."
The portal will go live online Friday, August 4, giving the public access to every restaurant health inspection in the state. You can click here to access it.