Informer: Report unsanitary restaurants to health units

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Who do you call to report a restaurant for unsanitary conditions?

Contact your parish health unit:

• Allen — 145 Hospital Drive, Oakdale, 318-335-1147.

Beauregard — 216 Evangeline St., DeRidder, 337-463-4486.

Calcasieu — 3236 Kirkman St., Lake Charles, 337-478-6020.

Jefferson Davis — 403 Baker St., Jennings, 337-824-2193.

Restaurant inspection reports can be viewed at

According to a legislative auditor’s report released in November, retail food establishments are the source of about 28,000

of the 163,000 or so cases of foodborne illness that health officials estimate Louisiana has each year.

“However, not all these cases are reported,” the report reads. “The State Epidemiologist receives approximately 2,930 reports

of foodborne illness each year, of which 498 (17%) are attributable to retail food establishments.”

The report, which looked at the state Office of Public Health’s inspection and enforcement efforts, found several weaknesses

in the Retail Food Program.

Among them:

Health officials issued permits to restaurants that had failed to correct violations.

The program didn’t follow its own risk model, with inspectors failing to check 5,849, or 81 percent, of 7,252 “high-risk retail

food establishments.”

“OPH rarely uses formal enforcement

actions to address violations,” the report reads. “Of the nearly 450,000

violations identified

from FY 2009 to FY 2011, OPH issued only four compliance orders

and assessed penalties totaling approximately $1,300 for two

of these compliance orders. However, OPH did not collect any of

the penalties it assessed.”

A third of retail food establishments were cited more than once for critical violations, indicating that “OPH’s enforcement

process does not appear to deter non-compliance.”


PSC commissioner could offer advice

What should a person do when he receives large long-distance charges that he didn’t make and the phone company will do nothing?

Not knowing all the circumstances involved, The Informer recommends you seek advice from Clyde Holloway, our region’s representative on the Louisiana Public Service Commission, which regulates telecommunications firms and utilities.

His Lake Charles office is at 1011 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 201. The phone number is 337-491-2736; the fax number is 337-491-2738.

His Eunice office is at 300 Bobcat Drive. The phone number is 337-457-7395; the fax number is 337-457-7401.

His main office is in Forest Hill, at 11098 U.S. 165 South. The phone numbers are 800-256-2490 and 318-748-4715; the fax number

is 318-748-4400.


Prescription drugs subject to local taxes

Why do pharmacies charge sales tax on prescriptions?

Because prescription drugs are exempt from state sales tax, but not local sales tax.


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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email