Letter Grading New York City Health Code Amendment §81.51 Rules of the City of New York Amendment Chapter 23 of Title 24
Goals of New York CityLetter Grading • Give consumers easier access to information about sanitary conditions in restaurants • Improve restaurants’ food preparation practices • Reduce restaurant-attributable food-borne illness
Statement of Basis and Purpose • One in four New York City restaurants requires re-inspection due to the number or severity of health code violations. • The re-inspection rate has fluctuated between about 20% and 30% since 2005.
Statement of Basis and Purpose • Evidence suggests that mandatory grade posting significantly improves food safety in restaurants. • Just 40% of restaurants in L.A. scored an A in 1998. By 2002, 82% received A grades.
Establishments Subject to Letter Grading in NYC • Restaurants • Coffee shops • Bars • Nightclubs • Most cafeterias • Fixed-site food stands
Establishments Not Subject to Grading • Mobile food vending units • Temporary food service establishments • Food service establishments operated by primary or secondary schools • Hospital-operated cafeterias • Correctional facilities • Charitable organizations (including soup kitchens or other prepared food distribution programs) • Food service establishments that are not-for-profit membership organizations that operate and serve food only to their members
Inspection Terminology (§23-01) • Inspection Cycle.A series of inspections consisting of an Initial Inspection and, in some cases, a Re-inspection and periodic Compliance Inspections to ensure that violations have been corrected. • Initial Inspection.The first sanitary inspection within an Inspection Cycle. • Re-inspection.A sanitary inspection conducted for the purpose of grading following a score of 14 or more points on an Initial Inspection. • Compliance Inspection.An un-graded inspection following a score of ≥28 points on a Re-inspection or prior Compliance Inspection to ensure that health code violations have been corrected.
What Grades Mean, and When They Are Issued • A = 13 points or less on an Initial or Re-inspection • B = 14 – 27 points on a Re-inspection • C = 28 points or more on a Re-inspection 10
What Grades Mean, and When They Are Issued • Two types of Pre-permit Inspections: • Those conducted before a restaurant is operating • Those conducted after a restaurant is operating • The Department does not grade restaurants for Pre-permit inspections conducted before they open, but does grade those that are operating during their Pre-permit Inspections. • An establishment that passes its Pre-permit Inspection before opening for business will be graded on its first Initial Inspection or Re-inspection.
Posting Letter Grades • An establishment that receives a 0 to 13 points on an Initial or Re-inspection will receive and immediately post a grade card displaying the letter grade A. • An establishment that receives a score of 14 or more points on an Initial Inspection, and is not closed, will continue to display its current grade card until its Re-inspection. • If the establishment does not have a grade card, it will remain un-graded until its Re-inspection.
Posting Letter Grades • If an establishment receives 14 or more points on Re-inspection: • The Health Department will provide a grade card displaying the letter grade that corresponds with its inspection score. The agency will also provide a card that says Grade Pending. • The establishment must immediatelyposteitherthe grade card or the Grade Pending card. • If the establishment posts the Grade Pending card, it may do so only until it has had an opportunity to be heard at the department’s Administrative Tribunal.
Posting Letter Grades • If the Administrative Tribunal does not change the grade, then the establishment must immediately remove any Grade Pending card and post the grade card issued duringthe Re-inspection.
Posting Letter Grades • If an establishment does not appear at the Administrative Tribunal on or before the scheduled hearing date, and has not requested or received an adjournment, the establishment must post the letter grade card it received at its Re-inspection on the date of the hearing.
Posting Letter Grades • If the Tribunal grants an adjournment, the establishment can continue to display its Grade Pending card until the adjourned hearing date. • If an establishment misses its adjourned hearing date, it must post its assigned grade after the adjourned hearing date passes.
Posting Letter Grades • If the Administrative Tribunal removes enough violation points to change a restaurant’s letter grade, the Health Department will issue a new letter grade card. The establishment must promptly replace its Grade Pending or previously assigned grade card with the revised grade card.
Posting Letter Grades Grade cards must be posted: • In a conspicuous place on the establishment’s front window, door or exterior wall • Within 5 feet of the front door or other direct entrance from the street • 4 to 6 feet from the ground or floor • An establishment without a direct entrance from the street must post the grade or Grade Pending card near its point of entry, where it is clearly visible to passersby. The Public Health Sanitarian will help identify an acceptable place.
Inspection Intervals • The interval between Inspection Cycles depends on the restaurant’s sanitary score on its InitialorRe-inspection. Restaurants that perform well are inspected less often than those that perform poorly. • 0-13 points about a year • 14-27 points 150 to 210 days after Re-inspection • 28 or more points 90 to 150 days after an Inspection Cycle ends
Frequently Asked Questions A Review of Grading Rules
Has letter grading changed the inspection process? • No. The Health Department has not changed the way it conducts sanitary inspections.
Has the scoring system changed? • Yes. The Health Department has adjusted some violation scores and condition levels. For details, visit nyc.gov/health or consult these publications: • Food Service Establishment Self Inspection Worksheet • Guide to Condition Levels for Food Service Establishments.
Which inspections are graded? • Initial Inspection. An establishment scoring 0 to 13 violation points on an Initial Inspection receive an A grade. This ends the inspection cycle. • Re-inspection. If a restaurant does not score an A on its initial inspection, it will be re-inspected at least 7 days later. A grade card and a Grade Pending card will be issued after this Re-inspection.
How do grades correspond to inspection scores? • A = 0-13 points • B = 14-27 points • C = ≥28 points 24
On Initial Inspection Only A graded establishments will receive a grade card, which must be posted immediately. Re-inspection A, B or C grades may be issued. A grades must be posted immediately. B or C graded establishments will receive a grade card and a Grade Pending card. If the establishment contests the inspection score, it must post one of the two cards until the Tribunal hearing date. When are grade cards issued and when must they be posted?
When are grade cards issued and when must they be posted? • Following a Tribunal Hearing • If the hearing changes the grade, the Tribunal will issue a new card, which must be posted immediately. • If the hearing does not change the grade, the establishment must immediately post the grade card issued during the Re-inspection. • Unless a restaurant requests and receives an adjournment, postponing its hearing date, it must post the grade card issued during its Re-inspection on the scheduled hearing date.
What if the Tribunal mails its decision to the restaurant? • If the decision results in a new grade, a new grade card will be mailed with the decision. • A restaurant must post the new grade card, or the grade card it received during its Re-inspection, immediately after receiving the decision.
What card should the restaurant post if it settles the Notice of Violation? • By settling a Notice of Violation, the establishment waives its right to a hearing and admits to the violations cited. Immediately after settling, the operator must post the grade card issued during the Re-inspection. • An operator can settle a Notice of Violation by mail, in person at the Tribunal, or online at Business Express.
How often are restaurants graded? • The interval between inspection cycles depends on the sanitary condition of the restaurant: • 0-13 points about a year • 14-27 points 150 to 210 days after the Re-inspection • 28 or more points 90 to 150 days after the inspection cycle ends • An inspection cycle ends when a restaurant scores less than 28 points. • The Health Department will inspect a restaurant about every 30 days until it scores less than 28 points or is closed.
How can restaurants practice A-grade food safety? • Always have a Food Protection Certificate holder supervising food workers. • Train all food workers in food safety.
Food Protection Course • The Food Protection Course is available in person in Spanish, Chinese Korean and English; and online in Spanish, Chinese and English. • The more employees who take and pass the course, the better a restaurant will do on its inspections.
For More Information • The Health Academy:East Harlem Multi-Service Center Second Floor413 East 120 StreetNew York, NY 10035917-492-6990
Quality Improvement Food Protection Certificate Course • Teaches food service operators active managerial control. • Two mornings and an opportunity to develop your active managerial control plan. • Learn the tools that you need to manage your establishment so that you are in compliance with the health codes. • The Health Academy:East Harlem Multi-Service Center, 2nd Floor413 East 120 StreetNew York, NY 10035917 492 6990
How can restaurants practice A-grade food safety? • Use the Self- Inspection Worksheet, similar to that used by inspectors, to conduct weekly self-inspections and uncover areas in need of improvement.
How can restaurants practice A-grade food safety? • Review the Guide to Condition Levels to avoid lapses in safe food handling. • The free Checklist and Guide to Condition Levels is available at nyc.gov/health.
What are the most commonly cited violations? • A few violations account for nearly two thirds of all citations. • By avoiding these lapses, a restaurant can improve its grade and help prevent food-borne illnesses.
What are the most commonly cited violations? 1.Facility not vermin-proof; harborage or other conditions conducive to pest infestation (8A) • Seal all cracks, crevices and holes in walls, cabinets and doors through which rodents, cockroaches & flies can enter. Before After • Install rodent proof door sweeps on external doors. • Clean grease, oil and food particles from all surfaces. • Clean equipment and the floor under and around equipment. • Keep range hoods free of grease.
2.Non-food contact surface improperly constructed, unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained (6C and 10F) Review Department rules and Health Code on acceptable materials for food preparation and kitchen surfaces. Make sure all surfaces are smooth and cleanable. Keep surfaces clean and sanitary. What are the most commonly cited violations?
What are the most commonly cited violations? 3.Evidence of mice, cockroaches or flying insects in facility’s food and/or non-food areas (4M, 4N, 4O) • Follow good integrated pest management practices. • Contract with a well-qualified pest control professional licensed to work in restaurants. • Maintain a harborage-free and vermin-proof restaurant. • Make sure all surfaces are clean, dry and free of debris. • Store food and garbage in vermin proof containers.
What are the most commonly cited violations? 4.Improper temperature holding of food (2B & 2G) • Review rules/Health Code for proper temperature holding procedures. • Track food from hot or cold storage; always know how long it has been out. • Monitor temperature of food in cold and hot storage. • Make sure cold and hot holding equipment is functioning properly and able to maintain food at temperature.
What are the most commonly cited violations? 5.Plumbing maintenance, backflow, sewage and drainage problems (10B) • Monitor condition of all plumbing fixtures and make immediate repairs. • Make sure plumbing is equipped with an approved backflow prevention device (exs: check valves, anti-siphonage device, vacuum breaker). • Clean and maintain grease traps.
What are the most commonly cited violations? 6.Food surfaces not properly maintained (6D) • Maintain all cutting surfaces making sure they can be properly sanitized. • Repair or replace pitted or deeply grooved cutting boards. • Repair chipped or broken surfaces that come into contact with food. • Regularly clean and sanitize all food preparation surfaces after each use. Make sure they are free of caked on food.
What are the most commonly cited violations? 7.Food not protected from contamination during storage, preparation, transportation or display (6C) • Cover and protect food at all times prior to being served. • Segregate food by temperature and type. • Avoid cross contamination by making sure potentially hazardous food (such as raw poultry) is not stored over or adjacent to ready to eat food (salad ingredients).
What are the most commonly cited violations? 8.Food protection certificate not held by a supervisor during food operation (4A) • Have more than one supervisor with a food protection certificate on staff so that there is always a supervisor present during hours of operation (whenever food is being is being prepared or served).
What happens to a grade when the Health Department closes a restaurant? • The Health Department removes the grade card and posts a closure sign. • If the closure occurs on an Initial Inspection, the restaurant posts a Grade Pending card when authorized to re-open. It receives a grade card at its Re-inspection. • If the closure occurs on Re-inspection, the restaurant may post its Re-inspection grade or Grade Pending card when it re-opens. • If the closure occurs on a Compliance Inspection, (conducted after a Re-inspection), upon re-opening the restaurant posts the grade card issued before it was closed.
What happens to the grade if the Health Department receives a complaint about a restaurant? • A complaint-initiated inspection may be a partial or full inspection at the discretion of the Health Department and may or may not be graded.
Where does the restaurant have to post the grade card? • The Grade Pending or letter-grade card must be posted in a “conspicuous place,” meaning it is easily seen by people passing by. • A conspicuous place is a front window, door or outside wall. • The card must be within 5 feet of the entrance and within 4 to 6 feet of the ground or floor. • Letter grade cards may not be removed except when authorized by the department.
Grade Card Posting Penalties • Is there a penalty for not posting a current grade card? • Yes. The Health Department will issue a Notice of Violation and cite restaurants failing to post grade cards or Grade Pending cards, or for failing to post the cards in required locations. • What happens if the grade card needs to be replaced? • The restaurant operator can pick up a replacement at the Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation, 253 Broadway, 12th floor, Manhattan. • What should the restaurant do with its out-of-date grade card or Grade Pending card? • A card that is no longer current must be destroyed.