City officials are giving high marks to the controversial restaurant grading system that launched a year ago, saying most New Yorkers favor it and even suggesting they’d like to expand the program to food carts.
“Personally, I would love to see before I buy from a cart, a sign up there, telling whether or not the guy washed his hands before he reaches in and pulls out the hot dog,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday at a Queens news conference touting the benefits of the letter grades.
Restaurants are inspected for their cleanliness and must post an “A,” “B” or “C” in their windows depending on their violations. Eateries unhappy about their letters can post a “grade pending” while they contest the health department’s findings.
An amNewYork investigation last week found that the city is allowing restaurants that fail inspections to at least temporarily keep their previously earned “A” grades posted because of a loophole in the inspection process.
Bloomberg and health officials said the grading system has saved some 8,000 restaurants an estimated $3 million because they’ve avoided getting fined during inspections. About 69 percent of restaurants inspected have an “A,” according to the city.
Meanwhile, a Baruch College survey found 90 percent of New Yorkers like the grades.
The New York Restaurant Association, however, says the system is flawed and hurts business for eateries that don’t get an “A.”