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PALM LATITUDES

Q&A : What Does a Health Inspector Eat?

October 01, 1995

Terrence Powell, Chief Environmental Health Officer for the West District of L.A. County (which includes Beverly Hills, Venice and Santa Monica):

I'll send food back that isn't warm. I never eat in the dark. And--my family always kids me about this--I always smell my food.

One time I was with my family at a seafood restaurant, and I could see that there was dirty water all over the kitchen floor. It obviously had a drainage problem, so I got my family up and we went someplace else.

I have my guilty pleasures. I still eat raw oysters every now and then and raw mushrooms and gourmet hamburgers. Most gourmet hamburgers are partly raw--they take a big hunk of ground beef and just sear it quickly to keep the juices in. You have to draw the line between the personal and professional somewhere. But a lot of people in the office bring their own food for lunch.

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