Health Department to Start Assigning Letter Grades to Boston Restaurants

Starting next year, Boston’s health department will be implementing a new letter grade system for public health inspection scores. The system will be very similar to the letter grades that restaurants in cities like New York already use. The news comes after a troubling report from the Boston Globe that found that almost half of all food service operations in Boston have at least two major food safety infractions that could cause food-borne illnesses. Changing to the letter grade system, and visibly posting the letter grade in the restaurant, will incentivize restaurants to implement better food handling practices, according to the head of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department.

The good news for restaurant owners is that restaurants with a grade of ‘C’ or lower will be re-inspected within 30 days and if they’ve corrected their infractions their score will be increased to an ‘A’ or ‘B’. The system creates more transparency for diners and owners who currently have to go to the health department’s website to see restaurant scores and will also be applied to food trucks and all food service operations. Some restaurant advocates are worried that the system will “be arbitrary” and will not actually reflect a restaurant’s sanitation practices. Read more.