New Jersey restaurants are already required to post their most recent inspection grades in an easy-to-see location for all customers, but several Garden State counties are making it even easier to see how clean and reliable these eateries really are.

A handful of county health departments have inspection databases online, available to the public.

The Monmouth County Health Department, for example, inspects approximately 1,900 food-handling facilities each year. Locations considered "unsatisfactory" or "conditionally satisfactory" are posted on the county's website.

"Inspections are generally unannounced," said the department's Alice Cadotte. "They are required by law once a year."

But re-inspections are necessary, she said, if the initial checkup is less than satisfactory, or the department receives consumer complaints.

"Our primary goal in all of this is to keep the public safe," Cadotte said.

Consumers who are interested in seeing the inspection report of an eatery that's not listed online can ask the establishment for a copy or file an Open Public Records Act request. Inspections in some counties are handled by individual municipalities.

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