Starting with the 20 on-site inspections completed laws week, Contra Costa’’s Environmental Health Department is now giving the 4,000-some restaurants, grocery stores, delis, conveniencemarts and gas station heat-lamp operations physical placards showing whether that establishment fully passes (green) or is on “conditional” status (yellow).
If major problems like vermin infestations, lack of hot water or improper storage temperatures result in an order to close, such establishments can be assigned a red placard until the problems are solved.
For Contra Costa Environmental Health Department Director Marilyn Underwood, it’s largely a matter of consistency. Alameda County, with the exception of the city of Berkeley, has since July 2012 used a color-coded placard system much like the one Contra Costa has adopted with green (pass), yellow (conditional pass) and red (closed) given to the county’s 6,000 restaurants, grocery stores and other places food is sold.
In 2014, Santa Clara County adopted a similar system showing inspection results for its 8,000 vendors. The only Bay Area county that doesn’t do this or something similar, Underwood said, is San Francisco.
“People here live in one area and commute to other areas, and we wanted a consistent look to what people see,” she said.
Also, having a vendor’s rating posted publicly should encourage them to clean up their acts, literally, and may result in more clients reporting problems they see.
To see more about the Contra Costa placard program, go to http://cchealth.org/eh/retail-food/placard.php
More information on the Alameda County program is available at www.acgov.org/aceh/food/grading.htm
Details on Santa Clara County’s placard program can be found at www.sccgov.org/sites/cpd/programs/fsp/Pages/Placarding.aspx