DES MOINES, Iowa — An article published by the Iowa Capital Dispatch last week claimed restaurant inspections would be dramatically scaled back to once every five years. After a firestorm on Twitter, it was corrected, but not before the original story went viral.
“This is more about Twitter and how a story can take on a life of its own than it is about anything else because the original story was actually corrected,” Jessica Dunker, CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association said.
Dunker first spoke out publicly on the issue this week during an episode of The Iowa Podcast. She said the original article failed to mention anything about the different risk levels involving how often an establishment will be inspected.
Currently, there are five levels of food safety risk, from very low to very high. The change in inspections will occur in the low-level category. One example would be a bar where frozen pizza is served to patrons. None of the other categories where food is prepared in a kitchen will see a change in inspections.
“The original source of the article did make a correction, they did put the right information out. But, once the right information was out Twitter had taken on a life of its own and things were being retweeted all over the place ultimately that can hurt restaurants, that can damage small businesses that really day in and day out have served quality food to people and want to continue to do so,” Dunker said.
Dunker says restaurants were hit especially hard during the pandemic and continue to struggle to stay profitable now with the cost of inflation. She says inspections will go on as usual and noted most of the state inspections are complaint-driven — the state will continue to investigate any accusations involving food safety.