The Los Angeles County restaurant inspection program is undergoing changes to improve the A, B and C letter grading system.
Prior to the letter grade rating system – which was implemented in 1998 – the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health regularly inspected restaurants, but little information was available to consumers about inspection results. Ten years after the system was implemented, an independent study determined the grading system resulted in a 20 percent decrease in food-borne illness hospitalizations, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, 5th District.
“To continue to preserve the public’s confidence in the county’s food grading system, we will ensure that on-going improvements are made that ensure the highest standards for our restaurants and consumers,” Antonovich said.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will continue to use the letter grading system, but will include additional information on public notices posted in restaurants. The new information includes the last inspection dates, information about how to contact the inspector and a code members of the public can scan with a smartphone to find more detailed information about the results of the last inspection. New cards to be posted in restaurants will be issued over the coming months during routine inspections. Information on restaurants that have been closed or have caused food-borne illness will also be available online.
“It is important that restaurant goers are provided with accurate and timely information so that they can make informed choices when dining out,” said Cynthia Harding, interim director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “A key component of the improved grading system is public disclosure of the grade or score earned at the time of inspection.”
For information on the program, visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh.
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