Dead Flies in Tequila
The first thing I learned is that restaurant inspectors are called sanitarians.
"The name goes back to the forties or fifties," explains Al Hauck, the county's senior sanitarian, who's been on the job for thirty-two years. "We're part of the county's Environmental Health Division, and we're registered with the state like registered nurses."
Hauck meets me with three of his eight sanitarians in the Western Washtenaw County Service Center just down the road from the Big Boy on Zeeb: Craig Hanton with twenty-three years on the job, Denise Bernbeck with eighteen, and Charles Yet with seven.
"The state requires at least some college science courses," Yet explains of the standards expected of sanitarians. "I've got a BS in environmental health."
"To be registered, the state makes you take a rigorous exam," adds Bernbeck, "as in 'Oh, my God!' rigorous."
"And they like it if you keep up your continuing education," concludes Hanton.