Scared About Food Poisoning? New Restaurant Letter Grades May Calm Your Fears

Kim Conte

restaurant letter gradesMost people just accept that occasional bouts of food poisoning -- ugh! -- is the risk you take by eating out.

But what if it didn't have to be that way?

Los Angeles and New York are experimenting with a restaurant letter grading system in an attempt to reduce the number of cases of food-related illness. Similar to the grading scale used in school, grades will be awarded based on a restaurant's hygiene: If a restaurant passes its health inspection with flying colors, it is awarded an "A" to prominently display in its space. Unclean restaurants will, no doubt, get a failing grade.

What would you do if your favorite restaurant all of sudden had a giant "F" hanging in the window?

Los Angeles introduced this grading system several years ago, and since then there has been a 20 percent decline in hospital admissions for food-borne illness (although a connection has not been officially proven). New York City recently followed suit and adopted the system as well.

Personally, (and as someone whose hyper vigilant about trying to avoid food poisoning), I'd like to see this system expand to other regions. To me, cleanliness grades are an interesting way for restaurants to be accountable for their hygienic practices. Giving customers more information about where they're eating is a good idea any way you look at it.

Although, that's assuming my favorite little neighborhood restaurant gets an "A++++" for effort!

What do you think of restaurants receiving letter grades? Do you think it would cut down on food-related illness?


Image via New York City Department of Health

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