Information about restaurant inspections and inspection results.
Albuquerque Restaurants & Food Inspection
What is a Restaurant Inspection?
Routine inspections at food establishments are a "snapshot" of food safety operations on the particular day they are done. Critical and non-critical violations are recorded on an inspection form. Critical violations are factors that have been identified as items that could potentially cause a food borne illness. Most critical violations are typically corrected on the spot. However, some critical violations require additional time for compliance.
What is the difference between a Red and a Green Sticker?
All food service establishments must display the current grade sticker in a visible location. You will typically see the grade on the front door at eye level or lower. Some food service establishments with drive-thrus display the grade on their outside menu board as well.
If you see a green approved sticker, it means that a food service establishment received a passing grade at their last inspection from the food safety specialists. It means they have demonstrated skills and knowledge that create a safe and sanitary food service environment.
If you see a red unsatisfactory sticker, it means that the food service establishment has been downgraded for non-compliance with the Food Sanitation Ordinance.
Food service establishments can still operate with a red sticker; however, downgraded food service establishments have five (5) days to contact us for a re-inspection before we suspend their operating permit. Most food service establishments correct the critical violations and contact us within 24 hours. If a food service establishment is downgraded more than 3 times in a three-year period, their permit is immediately suspended.
How often are Restaurants Inspected?
All food permits are inspected at least two times per year.
Has the Food Inspection Form Changed?
Yes, it’s been updated. The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department adopted the 2009 FDA Food Code in October 2010. The City’s Food Sanitation Ordinance reflects the most current food science which aims to ensure public health and safety.
After 2 years of a “soft transition” the City has also updated its Food Inspection Form to more closely correspond with the adopted code. For the most part, the updated form is very similar to the previous form, but the updated form requires the inspector to be more thorough while documenting his/her observations. The most noticeable change deals with supervision and employee health. The Person In Charge is required to be present at the facility and to demonstrate appropriate knowledge of all safe food handling for their particular facility. There are 3 ways to demonstrate this knowledge – but you only need one! Attend a certified training (such as Serve Safe by the NMRA); receive an inspection without any “critical” or “priority” violations; OR talk with the inspector and provide them with sufficient information to indicate your knowledge of food safety and illness prevention.
The inspector will also be documenting that the facility has a plan in place which shows that each employee is aware of the 5 reportable illnesses (Norovirus, Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, and Hepatitis A virus) – all known to cause foodborne illnesses, and that each employee agrees to notify their Person In Charge if they are experiencing any of these illnesses.
The City of Albuquerque has information and sample FDA forms available to help the industry fulfill these requirements and maintain compliance with the 2009 FDA Food Code. To obtain assistance, please call 505-768-2643.