Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at www.nwhealth.org
Health Department warns food establishments of phony inspector scam
(January 6, 2011) Public health officials are warning the 600 food establishments in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties about a scam involving fraudulent food inspectors who are contacting area restaurants. Two restaurants have recently reported receiving calls from individuals claiming to be from the Health Department and requesting to schedule inspections of their facilities based on alleged violations.
"Most restaurant operators are familiar with their local food inspectors," said Scott Kendzierski, Director of Environmental Health for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "But it can be upsetting to receive a call from the Health Department to schedule a non-routine inspection."
The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) suggests these tips to food establishments so they don't fall victim to this scam:
- Ask for identification if someone stops by or calls claiming to be from the local health department, MDA, or federal food agencies that you don't know.
- If the individual cannot provide proper identification, do not allow the person access to your facility. Contact your food regulatory agency immediately and report it.
- Never provide sensitive or confidential information over the phone such as a social security number. State and local food inspectors would never ask for that information.
"We take these situations very seriously and are working with local law enforcement to provide any information needed to assist their efforts in indentifying who is responsible," Kendzierski said.
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information, contact Kendzierski at 231-547-6523.