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With Chipotle Suffering, White Castle Launches 'Castle Clean' Website

With Chipotle Suffering, White Castle Launches 'Castle Clean' Website
Image credit: snowpea&bokchoi | Flickr

With Chipotle coming under fire (again and again) for its food-safety issues, lower-priced chain White Castle is craving to be clean.

Timed with its 95th anniversary, America’s first hamburger chain just launched “White Castle Clean,” a website that willingly shares and promotes its health inspection records.

Related: Chipotle to Close All Stores for One Day in February

According to a press release, the website’s purpose is to “promote food safety, cleanliness and transparency” for each of the company’s nearly 400 restaurants located in 13 states.

The site, which will be updated biannually, features an interactive map of the U.S. Each state links to a document with locations, dates, results and notes from inspections dating back to 2014. Not included is who conducted the inspection or from what region.

Though the reports were created by White Castle based on official inspections and not directly from state or city inspectors, notes are included. But not all violations come with an explanation. Definitions for inspection lingo and standards are also absent in some instances. For example, there’s no elaboration on the meaning for phrases like “green” or “critical” in Ohio’s records. Reports for New York also give establishments’ grades without any additional information and some locations don’t include any results at all. Also, because inspection protocol vary from state to state, comparing White Castles to each other is challenging.

“Restaurant inspection and health scores are handled at a county and municipal level,” Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, said in a statement. “So while there is a semblance of a universal standard; there are unique differences in how the scores are assigned at each county across the United States.”

Most violations seemed minor ranging from slight temperature and storing errors. However, a few inspections did mention mor e glaring problems, like “insects/pests near the drains” at one location in Michigan.

Overall, the majority of White Castle locations were up to snuff by health department standards.

Related: Tips and Apps to Assure Your Employees' Safety and Health