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New Grading System for Restaurant Safety in the Works in Allegheny County

If you want to know how your neighborhood sandwich shop or your favorite sushi restaurant fared on its last health department inspection, you can find that information online, but those reports can often be full of jargon and difficult to interpret.

Now, the Allegheny County Health Department is working to make that information easier to digest by implementing a four-tiered grading system for restaurant inspections.

Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the county health department, said they’re still figuring out how that grading process would work.

“What it looks like is we will be doing our inspections, and based on the inspections and the opportunity for the restaurants to actually alleviate any critical issues, we would then give them an A, B, C, or D based on that,” Hacker said.

She said they are working with food safety consultant Glenda Christy, who previously worked at the Health Department before moving on to a position with Giant Eagle.

Allegheny County Board of Health Chairman Dr. Lee Harrison said restaurants would be required to post their grade inside the establishment, so all the customers can see it.

“The idea is to make the interpretation of the inspection report more transparent to the public, and give restaurants an incentive to be maximally safe,” Harrison said.

Hacker said she expects the grading system to be in place sometime this summer.

Liz Reid oversees newsroom operations at WESA. She began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor. You can reach her at lreid@wesa.fm.
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