Around 95 percent of New York City restaurants received an A letter grade for their sanitary inspections, said the NY Health Department.
Since the Health Department required restaurants to post their letter grades on their windows in July 2010, the grades have steadily risen. There has been a 15 percent increase in A letter grades since the strict guidelines were imposed, according to Health Department data.
Inspection works on a points basis with points issued for violations such as unclean tools or food conditions. A restaurant receives an A grade if they score between 0 to 13 points, B if they earn 14 to 27 points, and 28 points or more warrants the patron comforting C grade.
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Luckily for restaurants, they can get a second chance to make the grade.
Owners can opt for a second inspection one month later if they don’t score an A grade during their Health Department visit. While they fix their violations and wait for the second inspection, restaurants go ungraded.
“New York’s restaurant grading program is a phenomenal success,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Most importantly, it has prevented illnesses caused by salmonella.”
Reportedly there has been a 24-percent drop in Salmonella reports since 2010, according to Marlan Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at NYU.
The Health Department attributes the better grades to better food safety practices. Critical violations have declined as restaurants have installed better hand washing facilities, kept foods at appropriate temperatures and kept equipment sanitary.
Unsurprisingly, New Yorkers are down with not getting Salmonella.
Ninety-one percent of New Yorkers approved of restaurant grading according to a 2012 Baruch College at the City University of New York survey. Furthermore 88 percent used grades to choose where they would eat and 76 percent felt more comfortable eating at a restaurant with an A grade.