Is Restaurant Food Safe?

Internal Medicine

07 Dec 2023 | 0 | by kjh

2569120login-checkIs Restaurant Food Safe?

How can you tell if it is safe to eat in a restaurant?  I recently went to a restaurant in a tourist town. It looked like a nice restaurant and it was packed with people.  I was seated at a table outside with my friend.  I was about to order dinner when a large rat passed by under my legs.  It seemed like it was his home by the way he hung around.  I told the manager about the rat and expressed my regret at having to leave.  The manager didn’t seem surprised by the occurrence.

That’s probably not the best way to determine if you should eat at a restaurant.  There is a lawsuit against Chop’t restaurant because a customer allegedly found part of a finger in her salad. According to an inspection report, the employee who was making the salad cut her finger while preparing arugula for the salad.  After the employee left to get medical treatment, the workers did not realize the arugula was contaminated with human blood and a fingertip. So it was served to a customer.  The restaurant has come up with a corrective action so that this does not happen again.  That’s not exactly reassuring.  

Still, those are not great ways to find out if you should eat at a particular restaurant.  You can check the bathroom to see if it’s clean. That says something about the restaurant. Some restaurants show the chefs cooking so you can see if the kitchen is clean and if they are practicing sanitary methods while they prepare your food.  You can look at reviews.

Most states rate food establishments for cleanliness. However, they vary in their inspection requirements. That goes for diners, cafes, fine eateries and even food trucks.  California uses a grading system as shown below.  Check with your state or county to see if there is a grading system.  Read articles, read reviews, check for outbreaks of illness, and see if a restaurant on your list has had a history of problems with foodborne illness.

A Grade:

  • Los Angeles County – Generally superior in food handling practices and overall food facility maintenance.
  • Riverside County – The ONLY passing grade that a facility can get for an inspection.
  • San Bernardino County – Generally superior in food handling practices and overall food facility maintenance and sanitation.
  • San Diego County – In satisfactory compliance with state law.

    B Grade:
  • Los Angeles County: Generally good in food handling practices and overall food facility maintenance.
  • Riverside County: The facility FAILED their unannounced inspection. Facilities that have received a B or lower grade are posted on Food Facility Downgrades webpage and are required to raise their grade back up to an A” within a short period of time.
  • San Bernardino County: Generally acceptable in food handling practices and overall food facility maintenance and sanitation.
  • San Diego County: The facility earned a score of 80 to 89% and needs improvement in operations and/or structure.

    Other:
  • Sacramento County: Placards are used –GREEN (open), YELLOW (conditionally open) or RED (closed).
  • Orange County: Posts inspection info.
  • San Francisco County: Posts grades–GOOD 91-100, ADEQUATE 86-90, NEEDS IMPROVEMENT 71-85, POOR 70 or less

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