Why does Columbia have its own food serving inspection practice? Citizens deserve better.

Every Sunday, Columbia news, views & reviews posts links to restaurant inspections in Lancaster and York Counties. These inspections are accomplished in accordance with Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture standardized inspection criteria.

Here’s a part of this past Sunday’s post.

Lancaster County’s Inspections at Lancaster Online. – Yes, all food serving establishments have to be inspected. Interesting this week are the number of schools that were inspected including one with this in its report: “Non-food service workers, unauthorized personnel are entering kitchen to serve themselves soup.” Not suprisingly, the “mess hall” can turn into a watering hole without a qualified, assiduous dining facility supervisor.

Yet, Columbia’s local food service inspector allegedly inspects ALL Columbia’s establishments serving food? Including schools?

So this post at the Columbia facebook page “What’s Happening in Columbia,Pa. and Area – Part 1”:

“My daughter goes to Columbia High School and this is what she was served today for lunch. There is mold on the bread and she said hers was not the only one that has mold on it. I’m pissed now she has to be hungry until she gets home because she refuses to eat anything else from there. Omw to pick her up.”

Image may contain: food

prompted a huge number of responses like these:

Restaurant inspections and school cafeteria inspections are both done by a Borough employee. Who BTW calls ahead to his appointments so they can be prepared. Don’t we deserve better than this?”

Columbia does their own inspections, has their own Heath department. Believe me, I WISH the department of agriculture would do the inspections, but they don’t.

She did the lunch aide told her not to say anything smh

Click here to go to the state’s Website of inspections … and the listing of the violations at each location. The statewide directory lists inspections for all municipalities in York County and Lancaster County.… except those in Columbia – Columbia persists in having its own inspection system with its own forms and inspection items – rather than the one used statewide.


Come on, Columbia, we can do better! Get in sync with the rest of the county … get consistency in food serving facility inspections. Get rid of the local yokel mindset.

board of health

The Columbia Borough Board of Health’s next meeting is Tuesday, October 3 at 7:00 pm – no meeting venue is shown, most likely the meeting is at the Borough Hall. Columbia news, views & reviews was unable to locate any minutes for previous Board of Health meetings at the borough website.

According to the Borough Website, there’s a Board of Health volunteer vacancy; if you are interested in volunteering please contact the Borough Manager at 717-684-2467 Ext. 7318.

According to the Borough Website: “The Board of Health is a relatively unique group in Lancaster County.  Unlike most municipalities which rely on the PA Department of Agriculture for Eating & Drinking Establishment inspections and on the PA Department of Health for sanitation issues, Columbia has chosen to perform these responsibilities to maintain rapid, coordinated, local control.”


Elizabeth Smedley Chair
Leslie Fritz Member
Dr. John Jensen Member
Dr. Bret Daniels Member
Reva Hall Member
Laurie Gerfin Alternate
Michele Hank Alternate


  1. And what is the other side of the story. Too often, these sites only tell one side of the story. Was the school contacted for their side? Probably not. But that’s pretty typical, not telling both sides for these sites.

    • How about the reply from the cafeteria worker who told the student to not tell anyone after the moldy lunch was exchanged. There’s the other side of the story.

  2. As a “citizen journalism” resource, Columbia news, views & reviews relies on input from community resources. Anyone can respond to anything that impacts this community. Columbia news, views & reviews does rely on governmental and school district secondary sources for information. When we see a social medium post that has numerous comments to that post, we do treat it as a “where there’s smoke, there may be a fire” item that is worthy of recasting.

    Our bottom line “one side of the story” about food serving safety and standards is and has been to encourage Columbia to follow the state law; to use the state inspection checklist; to post the inspection results on the state database, to be transparent with the inspection results and to have consistency.

    For a period of time, Columbia news, views & reviews paid for and posted the inspections of food-serving establishments. Frankly, it’s time consuming and costs money to submit the right-to-know documents, scan the files, maintain the URL, etc. We think, at a minimum, the borough should consider posting the facility inspection reports at its Website.

    One side of the story? If that side is food-handling safety and adherence to the state’s inspection guidelines, then, yes, Mr. Coffee.

    If offering others to comment, then, no. It is multi-sided.

    • Are you saying that we, as tax paying residents, must pay for the RESULTS of the food safety inspections? If so, how offensive is that to the residents? We are already paying the code department employees to perform the inspections. That information should, by all means, be on the borough website.

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