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PARAGON: Online Food Safety Inspection System

Environmental Health Web-Based Inspection System - Project in Brief

This NACCHO project is made possible through a partnership with Paragon Bermuda (Canada) Ltd., a technical services firm that provides Web-based application design, development, testing, and implementation for a variety of environmental health programs, including food safety, swimming pools, and septic tanks. For more information about Paragon Bermuda, visit


NACCHO has worked to improve understanding and awareness of the needs within local food safety programs. One of the largest gaps is the absence of electronic, streamlined, and cost-effective management of inspections, inspection reports, and results. To address this need at the local level, NACCHO embarked upon a collaboration with Paragon.

The Paragon Online Inspection System started as a Food Safety Inspection program and evolved to support multiple programs, including food establishments, swimming pools, and septic tanks.


This project markets and promotes a Web-accessible system for local health departments that has the following attributes:

  • Uses input screens identical to the paper forms used by inspectors;
  • Allows the use of a wide variety of equipment (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc.) to interface with the application;
  • Provides consistent, accurate, and up-to-date information to the public via the Internet;
  • Is available as a secure, hosted service;
  • Is cost effective for small to mid-sized health departments;
  • Saves signatures as encrypted "electronic ink"; and
  • Includes all the functionality required by the Inspection Business Process, specifically:
    • Secure access by authorized personnel;
    • Automatic scheduling of inspections based on risk category;
    • Scheduling of ad hoc inspections;        
    • Re-inspection and complaint tracking;
    • Repeat and violation calculation;        
    • Optional scoring;       
    • Issuance and tracking of notice documents;
    • Reassignment of inspections or establishments by managers;
    • Management reporting;
    • User registration by authorized personnel; and
    • Extensive customization, including:
      • Use of individual food code and violations;
      • Editing the violations library; and       
      • Values in all picklists used.

Major Activities

June 2005: Held focus group to solicit feedback on the functionality of the application and the kind of reporting that various levels of government might need.

July 2005: Presented the application at the NACCHO/ASTHO Annual Conference in Boston

December 2005: Initiated marketing and promotion of the system to local health departments.