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By Kirk McAlpin:
Lauren Baker walks into a restaurant prepared for potential code violations. As cooks shuffle around stoves and trays of food, she washes her hands, puts on gloves and a hair net, takes out her checklist and begins going through the kitchen poking food with a digital thermometer, looking for improper food handling and items stored out of place.
Baker is an environmental health specialist in Chatham County, one of eight counties in Georgia’s Coastal Health District. The job has become increasingly demanding as the workload rises while staff is in decline due to a tight budget and recruitment difficulties.