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Health Department’s New Placards Offer Easy Access To Food Establishments’ Inspection Ratings

Allegheny County Health Department

The Allegheny County Health Department will use new placards designed to make it easier to check restaurant and food facilities' inspection histories. 

A green, yellow or red sticker will adorn food establishments throughout the county, after undergoing an inspection. Each one will have a QR code, which patrons can scan with their smartphones to access a facility’s inspection report.

Food Safety Program Director Donna Scharding said the signs allow consumers to make educated decisions conveniently.

“It’s nice to have information right at the entrance to the food facility, rather than thinking ahead, ‘Where do I want to eat, I need to look up food facilities ahead of time at home,’” Scharding said.

A green placard, reading “Inspected and Permitted,” means the facility has met all standards. A yellow one indicates a consumer alert for sub-par conditions that could be fixed. And a red placard indicates a facility has been closed due to serious health concerns or for operating without a valid health permit.

Any food establishment given a yellow sign will have 10 days to fix any issues. If it doesn’t, it will be shut down.

The new placards are replacing the A, B and C rating system introduced in 2014, which would put a letter grade on a restaurant’s window. The QR codes give people a more involved look at this status, Scharding said.

“It will take the consumer to the search page of the Food Facilities in Allegheny County, and you can search by name, address, municipality, you can even search to see the severity of a consumer alert,” she said.

Approximately 9,000 food facilities in the county will receive the stickers over the next year.