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St. Paul fights state takeover of health inspections

Published 8:45am Thursday, July 4, 2013

ST. PAUL — The state of Minnesota says it’s taking over health inspections of restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and pools in St. Paul due to concerns about the city’s inspection program.

But St. Paul officials are seeking a court order to block the state departments of Health and Agriculture from taking over July 9.

The city got a letter from Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger on Monday, saying St. Paul lacks “internal controls to ensure the public’s health is being protected.” Among other things, the state says the city’s inspection program submitted incomplete reports.

City Safety and Inspections Director Ricardo Cervantes said his department was understaffed. He said he’s hired more inspectors and is improving issues of concern. The state said the improvements haven’t happened fast enough.