Boston Restaurants to Receive Food Safety Ranking

Boston restaurants may soon be given letter grades for cleanliness and food safety practices in a project to improve the poor state of food safety.
June 4, 2015

Boston restaurants may soon be ranked on cleanliness and food safety practices in a project aimed at improving the current state of the city’s food businesses. 

The new restaurant rating system would issue each food business inspected with a letter grade that they would then display to the public. Commissioner of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department, William Christopher, is reportedly confident that the rating program will come into effect.

“The main objective is to educate the consumers so they can make an educated assessment of where they want to eat.”

Sorry State of Affairs

A report published last week in the Boston Globe revealed more than half of the food businesses inspected in Boston in 2014 were found to have serious health and sanitary code violations. Food being stored at improper temperatures, staff not washing their hands correctly and rodent infestations are some examples of the violations that were found during the inspections.

Also perhaps somewhat surprisingly a higher price tag does not necessarily guarantee less health and sanitary code violations. Fine dining restaurants, company cafeterias and fast-food restaurants alike were all amongst those food businesses fined.

“We take all violations seriously,” said Mr. Christopher. “Anything that potentially causes a food-borne illness is of most concern.”

Following the Example of Other US Cities

New York and Los Angeles both already have similar ranking systems in place that issue food businesses with a letter grade and both cities reportedly say that their food safety grading systems have led to improvements.

Mr Christopher said he does not plan to adopt one of the food safety rating systems already in place in other states of the US but instead plans to learn from them and create a new model relevant to Boston.

“We’re looking at the right way to do it so that we’re fair to our restaurateurs,” said Mr Christopher who believes that a letter rating system would go a long way toward improving the poor food safety practices currently being displayed across the city.

“If you have restaurants across the street from each other — you’re an A restaurant, and I’m a C restaurant, I’m going to do everything in my power to try to become an A restaurant,” he said.