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NYC restaurants will be required to post letter grades

City restaurants soon won't be able to hide their report cards.

In July, hard-to-miss letter grades will be posted in restaurant windows, upsetting owners who call the placards misleading scarlet letters.

The details of the system are still being finalized, but the proposal called for grades A through C, based on demerit points accumulated by violations.

"Giving consumers more information will help make our restaurants safer and cleaner," said Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city health department, which approved the system Tuesday.

Poorly performing eateries have a chance to appeal before getting stuck with a B or C. They can put up a "grade pending" sign while they contest their results, and they can expect follow-up inspections within weeks. They must then post their new grades - good or bad.

The New York State Restaurant Association blasted the letter grades as a "snapshot in time" that shames eateries and misinforms diners.

"This is not to educate the public at all. It makes a fool out of them," said Marc Murphy, the association's vice president and owner of the Manhattan restaurants Landmarc and Ditch Plains. "A rodent violation can be two flies. Tell me who in the city hasn't seen two flies?"

About a quarter of the city's restaurants have "significant lapses in food-safety practices," according to the health department. Officials say about 30 percent would qualify for an A, 40 percent a B and 26 percent a C.

New York City's restaurant inspection reports are already posted online, but officials said posting the information in restaurant doors and windows prevents diners from having to search for it.

With AP

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