You are here

Health Inspection Grade Posting

February 1, 2011

RAMW Opposes Health Inspection Grade Posting Legislation


Washington, DC (January 21, 2011) -  Legislation was introduced in the Council of the District ofColumbia which would revamp the current health inspection regulations forrestaurants in Washington, DC. RAMW is opposed to this legislation – as we werewhen a version was introduced in 2009; that bill died in committee, as this oneshould.

This legislation mandates a simplistic letter grading systemwith the grade posted in the restaurant’s front window. The process of healthinspections is a one-day snapshot that may or may not reflect the restaurant’srecord of compliance with health regulations and does not truly reflect therisk of the establishment to the consumer. Without a significant infusion offunding to the DC Department of Health and additional inspection staff, it ishighly unlikely that re-inspections will be done in a timely manner. The loserin this all too likely scenario is the restaurant…there are no winners.

The current food code regulations contain provisions forcommending restaurants that consistently perform well in inspections – apositive reinforcement tool that any educator will tell you is more powerfulthan the threat of negative consequences such as is proposed by thislegislation. Unfortunately, the commendation provisions which have been inplace for many years are not used. Rather than simply having the HealthDepartment follow its current regulations by implementing the commendationprovisions, another layer of regulation is being proposed.

Also, current regulations provide for the posting ofinspections online which gives the consumer a number of reports to gauge therecord of performance of the establishment which is the much more realistic andfair reportage rather than letter grading. Last summer the DC Department ofHealth began posting the past three years of reports and will continue with anew digital system that gives consumers the information they need in anaccessible form.



Related Issues & Advocacy Categories:
Washington DC