WNYC's week-long series about the New York City Health Department's new restaurant grading system.
Restaurant owners may feel queasy about having food-safety grades posted at their entrances. But what about diners who have really felt ill thanks to restaurant food? Ilya Marritz examines the evidence behind the decision of the New York City Health Department to adopt letter grades.
Restaurant owners are bracing themselves for a new food safety grading system starting later this month. Diners will soon see an 8 x 12 inch blue "A," green "B," or yellow "C" letter posted at the entrance of every restaurant and bar in all five boroughs of New York City--nearly 24,000 locations in total.
If a restaurant fails its health inspection, you might think it had rats, mice or roaches. But sometimes, all it takes is a bunch of seemingly minor violations involving something as simple as the scoops used to take ice cubes out of a bin.
Tacos Delta is a popular Mexican food stand on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. At lunchtime, the takeaway window at a small, boxy restaurant is mobbed with hungry customers.
Starting later this month, color-coded grades based on restaurant food-safety conditions will begin appearing in prominent locations to the entrances of New York City’s nearly 24,000 eating establishments.
In school we learned that an 'A' was awarded for a score between 90-100 points, a 'B' for 80-89 points and a 'C' for 70 to 79. That’s not how the New York City’s new health inspection restaurant grading program will work.
As the new food inspection program rolls out later this month, if a restaurant receives more than 14 points, it will not receive a grade at that time. Instead, the restaurant will be re-inspected at least a week after the first inspection. During that time, the Health Department hopes restaurants will fix any violations before a second, different inspector makes an announced visit to conduct another survey.
The dreaded 'C.' It is the "Scarlet Letter" of restaurant grades. With only three possible grades, the 'C' is the lowest mark a restaurant can receive.
A restaurant that receives a 'B' or 'C' on its second inspection can opt to post a 'Grade Pending' card in the window while it waits for a hearing before an Administrative Tribunal at the Health Department.