Costa Rica Coffee Guide

How does the Health Ministry’s restaurant inspection process work?

July 1, 2011

When consumers suspect that a restaurant or business does not meet sanitary requirements to operate, they may file a complaint with the Health Ministry branch nearest the establishment’s location.

Hugo Guevara, director of the ministry’s South Metropolitan branch, said complaints are kept confidential but not anonymous. Depending on their nature, complaints may be addressed immediately or put aside.

Usually health inspectors stick to a schedule of planned annual visits to verify restaurants are following health code standards; however, inspectors are prepared to address emergencies, Guevara said.

“If we detect a mass food poisoning, we immediately send a team to see what’s happening,” he said. “We do the same if we detect a sudden increase in the number of complaints filed against a specific business.”

Inspectors use several criteria to define whether businesses may continue operations despite health regulation violations. Authorities take into consideration the nature of the violations and whether the business is a repeat offender.

“Everything related to food preparation must be immaculate,” Guevara said. “Finding bugs in the kitchen is a severe violation that leads to an immediate shutdown of the place. However, if the walls are a little dirty or in need of new paint, these are minor infractions that the establishment may solve without having to stop operations.”

Guevara said restaurants often violate health regulations because the owners relax after a first successful inspection and then forget that “an inspector may arrive at any time.”

You may be interested

Costa Rica to reapply restrictions in Greater Metropolitan Area
Costa Rica
21087 views
Costa Rica
21087 views

Costa Rica to reapply restrictions in Greater Metropolitan Area

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 1, 2020

Costa Rica will apply stricter health restrictions within the Greater Metropolitan Area in response to Wednesday's record-breaking increase in coronavirus…

Costa Rica coronavirus data for July 1, 2020
Costa Rica
21087 views
Costa Rica
21087 views

Costa Rica coronavirus data for July 1, 2020

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 1, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 294 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 3,753 cumulative known cases, the Health…

EU reopens to outside visitors; Costa Rica and U.S. not on list of approved countries
Latin America
1183 views
Latin America
1183 views

EU reopens to outside visitors; Costa Rica and U.S. not on list of approved countries

Chantal Valery and AFP bureaus - July 1, 2020

The European Union reopened its borders on Wednesday to visitors from 15 countries but excluded the United States, where coronavirus…