Sunday, March 23, 2014

Changes coming to restaurant inspection system


City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Health Department announced today they are releasing for public comment new restaurant grading rules designed to reduce fines and provide additional educational resources to help restaurants maintain their high health standards and succeed throughout New York City. In the last fiscal year, fines collected fell 23 percent from its peak in fiscal year 2012. Under the new rules, which include fixed penalties, restaurants will see a further reduction of 25 percent in fines, returning to pre-grading levels despite more frequent inspections. Restaurant owners will also have the opportunity to request a consultative, ungraded and penalty-free inspection to receive tailored advice about maintaining the best food safety practices at their establishment. This will help restaurants prepare for their next inspection and give them the information and tools to improve their chances to earn an A. Speaker Mark-Viverito and Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett were joined by Council Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson, Small Business Committee Chair Robert Cornegy, Council Member Vincent J. Gentile and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer for the announcement.

In addition to the reduced fines and penalty-free inspections, the collaboration between the City Council and the Health Department will make the entire inspection process more transparent and inclusive of small business owners.

The City Council has worked extensively to reform the City’s restaurant grading system. In October, following comprehensive forums, hearings, and a citywide restaurant inspection survey conducted by the Council, the Council passed a sweeping legislative package to improve the oversight and the performance of the restaurant inspection system.

The legislation established a new position of ombudsperson in the Office of Food Safety to respond to restaurant complaints, and expanded the Department’s food safety advisory committee, which includes nutritionists, food safety experts, and representatives from the restaurant industry. This committee will provide an ongoing review of the letter grading program.

The Health Department also announced the implementation of two other changes negotiated with the Council. Restaurants whose scores become less than 14 points after adjudication on its initial inspection will not have to pay any fines for the remaining sanitary violations on that inspection. Additionally, the Health Department will not issue a violation for a structural problem if prior inspections failed to notice it and conditions have not been changed, though the restaurant will still be required to fix it.


Anonymous said...

It seems that these "changes" are aimed to weaken the grading system.

Anonymous said...

Please ship MMV back to her homeland - she's such a puke artist!!!!

How can anyone take her seriously - she's just another Quinn!

Anonymous said...

Those inspectors are paid off. I seen places on the upper east side that had rats coming out of the place and I see an "a" rating. The whole system is bogus.

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of a consultative inspection. The goal should clean, safe restaurants, not fines.

Liman said...

Why can't I shake the idea that this system encourages corruption? "Say, nice place you got here. An 'A' will cost you $5,000. Be a shame if you had to put up a 'B'." Of course, I don't know if that happens. But c'mon, do you doubt it for a minute? It just looks like it's begging for a payoff opportunity. When is the last time you saw a "B"?

Anonymous said...

It's not about safety or cleanliness or sanitation, it's about generating revenue for the city (and in some cases for inspectors) wise up NY

Anonymous said...

A deli in downtown Flushing had a 'A' in the window but inside had fly-paper, replete with dead flies, hanging from the ceiling, roach traps along the window sills and if you peered into the back kitchen mouse traps on the floor.