NY City Council to hold letter-grade inspection hearing
Posted: February 24th, 2012 - 6:24pm
Source: National Restaurant Association
New York's City Council will meet with the New York State Restaurant Association and local restaurateurs at a March 7 oversight hearing that addresses the controversial letter-grade health inspection system in use there.
The hearing follows on the heels of a January survey that sought to determine the business impact of the inspections on New York City's restaurant industry since it was implemented more than a year and a half ago.
The survey is the result of more than a year of work by the New York State Restaurant Association to have its members' voices heard regarding the myriad difficulties and confusion associated with the city health department's inspection system.
"This is the follow-up to the restaurant inspection questionnaire that more than 1,000 operators filled out," said Andrew Rigie, executive vice president of NYSRA's New York City division. "This hearing will allow restaurant operators the opportunity to testify in front of the council and express their concerns regarding the punitive nature of the current letter-grade system."
Rigie added it is the association's "hope that the council and the health department will move to a food safety model that focuses on education and training and moves away from its current punitive model."
Under the current system, restaurants that receive a score of between zero and 13 violation points issued on initial inspection are awarded "A" grades and are then inspected annually. Those that score 14 to 27 points receive a "B" and establishments with 28 or more points get a "C". Restaurants receiving 14 or more points on initial inspection are inspected more frequently. Even operators who receive "A" grades often spend monies on fines and other costs related to re-inspections. Those additional costs include hiring sanitation consultants and attorneys to represent them at tribunal hearings.
According to Rigie, New York City has levied more than $40 million in fines on restaurant operators since the letter-grade system was introduced in July 2010.