I've never been unfortunate enough to have food poisoning (knock on wood). From what I heard, it kinda feels like you're meeting your grim death ... very slowly. Although it usually passes the next day without meds or a trip to the hospital, it still does a number on your body and what you are willing to eat going forward.
According to the New York City Department of Health, 10,000 ER visits in the city a year are linked to food-related hygiene. Ew!
That stat alone makes me all in favor of adding a grade to each of the city's 24,000 restaurants. In fact, I give the NYC Department an A++ for this idea: Knowing what you're putting in your body is uber-important and, honestly, no bad can come of raising the restaurant industry's standards -- or even expanding it nationwide.
Here are seven reasons why I think every state should adopt this restaurant grading system.
1. The restaurant could be serving grade "A" top choice meat, but if the restaurant is unsanitary, what's the point? The grading system will ensure that everything is top notch.
2. The inspection process will be the same as always, but instead of points, the restaurants will get letters: 0 to 13 violation points will get an "A," 14 to 27 a "B," and 28 or more a "C." The system is super-simple for eaters to decode.
3. The places that get a "B" rating will be inspected again every five to seven months and every three to five months for a "C." Good to know the health department will be checking back on dicey places.
4. The system works. Los Angeles already has the letter grades in place and saw food poisoning drop 20 percent; 40 to 80 percent of the restaurants received the highest food safety standards.
5. The letters have to be posted on the door or in the doorway area so you can see it right when you walk in.
6. Restaurants are more likely to be accountable when it comes to the food they serve. They have to aim for a high rating or will lose customers for sure.
7. With around 24,000 restaurants in NYC and millions more nationwide, it's hard to pick which ones are the good places. I'll feel more comfortable popping in a place for dinner that I've never been to or heard of if the rating is high and posted out front.
Would you eat at a restaurant with a "B" or "C" rating?
Image via BerntSorvinsen/Flickr