Baltimore city took another step forward in the effort to make restaurant inspections more widely available to the public this week.
The city’s health department launched a new web portal where citizens can search inspection reports. The inspection reports, which show whether eateries are clean and why they received violations, are available from the beginning of 2016 to the present. Anything before this year will require a public records request.
The city also plans to make the data available on OpenBaltimore.
The move means that Baltimore’s homegrown startup for opening up restaurant reports will finally have data for its own hometown. HDScores founder Matthew Eierman said this week’s release was a “pleasant surprise,” and he plans to add the data to the app.
Upon inspection, the new portal provides access to PDFs of individual reports. City Councilman Brandon Scott, who is leading the inspection report transparency effort, pushed for the city to give restaurants letter grades (a la Los Angeles and other cities) and require them to be posted. But that legislation did not pass.
The city joins most other Baltimore-area counties in making data available, but there’s still work to do in the jurisdiction next door. Eierman noted that Baltimore County doesn’t currently release data publicly.-30-
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