Are Food-Poisoning Complaints Up in the Age of Letter Grades?

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My inspector just wrote me a letter. Photo: NYC DOHMH

Three years after their debut, those bold-faced letter grades on restaurant façades have ushered in a new age of transparency and scrutiny. (Who keeps those C-rated restaurants open, anyhow?) The overhaul of the restaurant-inspections system is one of the current administration's most touted accomplishments, but stats indicate that Bloomberg may be a little overoptimistic in his back-patting: Basically, the Post notes, the number of food-poisoning complaints has jumped up 6 to 7 percent since the grading system was implemented in 2010.

Sure, there's been a 14 percent drop in salmonella cases in the last few years, a figure the administration correlates directly to its letter-grading process, but some numbers indicate that the drop was actually more like 10 percent and not unique to New York City. As for the uptick in reported food-poisoning incidents, the paper doesn't seem all that concerned that the total number of new restaurants has also risen in the past few years, and the number of complaints may simply be proportional. In the meantime, the Mayor’s Office simply chalks the increased number up to more whiners calling 311 to complain — which is admittedly a fair possibility.

"F" for Eatery Grades [NYP]
Related: How the Post Messed Up on Its Report on Restaurant-Inspection Fines