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Hartford Proposes Grades For Restaurant Health Inspections

Last year, restaurants in New York City were required to post a letter grade that summarized their health inspection results.  Now, the City of Hartford may do the same thing. The new plan wouldn't change the restaurant inspection process or requirements.  It also wouldn't apply to food trucks, school lunchrooms, jails, soup kitchens or hospital cafeterias. 

But it would make it easier for patrons to figure out just how well a restaurant does on its health inspections before ordering their food. Carlos Rivera is the city's health director. He says all diners see posted now is a restaurant's license. "It would be a two-step process for someone that's eating in a restaurant to find out how well that restaurant did. First you'd look for the license and then you'd have to call the health and human services department to get a score sheet to see if there were any violations. So with the restaurant scoring system, you'll see a bright display of A or B at the restaurant storefront and you'll know how well that restaurant's doing automatically."

Rivera says restaurants would get an A grade for scores of 90 or better. Restaurants in the 80s would get a B. Restaurants with lesser scores won't get grades; they'll simply have to make improvements and get re-inspected.

There is an appeal process. New York City implemented a similar program in July of last year. In a recent report, the city said that most restaurants earned high marks, and that restaurants improved significantly between their first and second inspections. Rivera says that's his goal in Hartford. "By virtue of this process, restaurants improve dramatically, the inspection process goes a lot better and the restaurants tend to score much higher than they would have otherwise."

Rivera says that the new program wouldn't mean changes for restaurants, but that it would mean more transparency for restaurant goers.