Restaurant grading plan opened to public comment

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A plan that could see grades going up on restaurant doors in Allegheny County as soon as this fall was released for public comment this morning.

Approved for release by the Allegheny County Board of Health last week, the health department plan would assign A-B-C grades to restaurants based on their annual inspections.

The details of the grading system are available on the Allegheny County Health Department’s website, www.achd.net.

The plan also can be reviewed in person at the department’s food safety division in Lawrenceville.

Comments may be submitted on the website and via email, fax or mail to foodgrading@achd.net; 412-578-8190, or Allegheny County Health Department, Food Safety Program, 3901 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 15224.

This the second time in three years that the board has sought public input on the matter. In 2011, board members withdrew their support for a grading proposal after an outcry from local restaurant interests.

Consumer advocates support grades and posting them publicly as a way to help diners make informed choices and to better incent restaurants to strictly follow food safety rules.

The public comment period will last through June 12.

A public hearing has been scheduled for June 10, from 6-8 p.m., at the Clack Health Center, Building 7, in Lawrenceville.

Before grades could be implemented, the system would need the nod from Allegheny County Council. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has said he is a strong supporter of restaurant grades.

Patricia Sabatini: psabatini@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3066.


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