NYC finalizes rules for letter-grade inspections

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Tuesday it has finalized plans for a letter-grade inspection system set to begin in late July for the city’s 24,000 restaurants.

In the interim, the department said it will hold free workshops on the new rules for restaurant owners and operators in each borough of the city.

The new inspection system issues letter grades – A, B or C – that restaurants are required to post near their entrances so the public has easy access to them.

Restaurants receiving 0 to 13 violation points during an inspection will receive an A grade, which would be posted immediately. Eateries with 14 to 27 points will receive B grades, and those with 28 or more points will get C grades.

Restaurants not receiving A grades will have an opportunity to improve their scores when they are retested shortly after the initial inspection, the health department said. Eateries that are dissatisfied with their grades also can file a protest with the health department’s administrative tribunal and post a "Grade Pending" sign in their businesses until their complaint is heard.

Restaurants with A grades will be inspected annually, but those receiving lower marks will get more frequent visits. The health department said it would take around a year to issue letter grades to all of the city's restaurants.

“New York City is justly famous for its restaurants, and many of them have excellent preparation practices,” said Thomas Farley, New York City's health commissioner. “Too many, though, are not operating as safely as they should. Letter grading enables diners to make more informed choices about where to eat. By making the inspection system more transparent, it gives restaurant operators an added incentive to meet the highest standards in food safety.”

New York City's new inspection rules are available online at www.nyc.gov/health.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected]