blue-letter days

DOH’s Letter-Grade Inspection System Is No Less Controversial

Closing in on its two-year anniversary, the Atlantic takes a look at the letter-grading system adopted by the Department of Health as the citywide standard for restaurant inspections. On one side, citing a statistical decrease in outbreaks of foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, the Bloomberg administration is happy as a clam being stored with its harvest tag, of course, at a temperature of 41°F or below. Navigating their way through an elaborate system of fines and a brave new world of inconsistent, multiple inspections, on the other hand, is still leaving restaurant owners unhappy. Ignatius Sono, the owner of Siggy's Pizza in the East Village, had to lawyer up and hire a restaurant consultant in the process of repealing his B grade, for example, while others assert the current grading system, through which a restaurant can be be free of mice, roaches, and cross-contamination risks but can still rack up enough "noncritical violation" points to render a B- or even C-level score, does not convey risk in a meaningful way. [Atlantic, Earlier]

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