Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Frances Edwards


food safety, food inspection, public health


Despite countless advances in food microbiology and public health regulations, foodborne illness continues to be a major strain on public health outcomes and a costly economic burden. In the United States, many agencies are responsible for ensuring the quality of food, both domestically produced and imported. States and localities are delegated the responsibility of identifying and ensuring sound practices in the latter stages of the food production process, namely the retail distribution of food products to consumers.

Regulatory policies across the nation have only recently incorporated the evidenced-based principles of hazard risk management (Law, 2003). Still, food-related acute gastrointestinal illnesses have remained pervasive in the country, demonstrating the limits of existing standards and approaches employed by regulators. Even more recent is the adoption of these principles in the retail food domain. The trend has been complemented by transparency requirements augmented by technological developments such as the internet and mobile applications. Santa Clara County has recently become among the latest jurisdictions to adopt a placarding requirement and a searchable website in an attempt to improve compliance with retail food safety rules, as well as public health. This paper will attempt to determine whether or not the efforts to make inspection data more assessable to consumers has resulted in greater compliance with food safety laws by food retailers.