A, B or C? Council Reviews City’s Restaurant Inspection Process

BROOKLYN — Everyone has seen those big letters in the windows of restaurants, from Bay Ridge to Brooklyn Heights, Canarsie to Carroll Gardens, giving the eateries a letter grade based on their inspections.
Now, in response to mounting concerns fromrestaurateurs about the city’s controversial restaurant inspection process, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo (D-Bronx) last week announced the launch of a comprehensive restaurant inspection survey. 
“I am troubled by the wave of complaints the Council has received from restaurants — even the ones that get A’s — about the fairness and inconsistency of the food safety inspection process,” said Quinn. “Any initiative — especially 18 months after establishment — calls for scrutiny. With this survey, we hope to learn more about what is and isn’t working, including whether the grading system has been implemented fairly.”
“I fully support educating the general public about the sanitary conditions of our city’s restaurants, but we must not forget that the impact of an inappropriately earned low grade can result in community stigma and the potential loss of local jobs,” said Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush/East Flatbush).
Divided into two sections, the first part of the survey seeks background information about the food establishment and solicits views on the Health Department’s inspection process and the letter-grading system. The second section requests recent historical data about experiences with inspections and adjudication in administrative tribunals. Specifically, this section seeks details about violations issued during each inspection from 2008 to the present, along with costs accrued in connection with the payment of fines, consultants and improvements. Survey participants are encouraged to answer as many questions as possible. 
“We have received many complaints from restaurateurs, and we hope this survey can provide us with data that can help us correct inefficiencies or inconsistencies in the department’s inspection process,” said Del Carmen Arroyo.
January 17, 2012 - 1:45pm



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