Julia Smith Final Project

Julia Smith Final Data Viz Project: Syracuse Restaurant Inspections 2014-2015

Syracuse Restaurant Inspections 2014-2015

Every year, restaurants go under unannounced inspections for how they operate, sanitize and store the food they serve to restaurants. In Syracuse, NY there were 84 restaurants in the 13210 zip code that were inspected in the 2014-2015 calendar year. Of those 84, 35 restaurants received at least one critical violation. A violation has two levels: red and blue. A red violation is considered critical and must be corrected immediately and if not, the restaurant can be immediately closed. An example of a red violation is Harry’s Bar and Grille where food came from an unapproved source and was spoiled. At Danzer’s German and American Restaurant, their red critical violation was in relation to not having food kept at or above 140 degrees for hot foods.

These violations are considered critical because they can immediately result in food-borne illness and food poisoning. All 35 of the restaurants with these violations immediately corrected their practices and were not shut down, but it is important for the public to see how their local restaurants operate on any given day. The New York State Health Department describes these inspections as a “snap shot in time and not always reflective of the day-to-day operations and overall condition of an establishment.”

In the first map shown below, a choropleth map indicates which restaurants violated more critical rules. Non-critical violations are also shown when clicked, but are not part of the change in gradient in the map. Non-critical violations are not used for this map because they are not an imminent health hazard; food poisoning cannot directly come from these infractions. Blue violations are related to the design and cleanliness of a restaurant and are usually fixed in a few days once it is reinspected. 

There may be more non-critical violations, but it does not change the top four restaurants with violations: Faegan’s, Nancy’s Deli & Cafe, Genesee Grande Hotel and Varsity Pizza. Faegan’s jumps from five critical violations to 15 non-critical violations, while Nancy’s Deli & Cafe goes from three critical violations to six non-critical violations. Faegan’s received 15 blue violations that go from reusing dirty dirty cloths to insects and rodents present to floors and walls in disrepair. It may seem strange that insects and rodents are not a critical red violation, but if they are not in direct contact with the food and seen strictly on the floors they are not a direct source for food related illnesses. At Nancy’s Deli & Cafe, tobacco was in use while preparing food and the surfaces where food was being prepared was not sanitized in between uses.

Once a restaurant receives their inspection, depending on its risk level, it can be inspected again in six months or may have up to two years with no inspection. High-risk restaurants like a hospital, school and nursing home must be checked twice a year because they serve large quantities and to a susceptible age bracket. Medium-risk restaurants like fast food and pizza shops can be inspected annually while a low-risk bar or doughnut shop can go up to two years without a check up.

Sources and data visualization services:

CartoDB

Datawrapper.de

Tableau Public

https://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/swr/2012/restinspection/global.pdf

https://health.data.ny.gov/Health/Onondaga-County-Restaurant-Inspections/tbxv-5tbd