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Allegheny County health board answers questions on proposed restaurant grading system

Aaron Aupperlee
| Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, 3:58 p.m.

A proposal to post letter grades at the entrances of Alle­gheny County restaurants will improve food safety but not put eateries out of business, according to a document members of the county's Board of Health received Wednesday.

The document, which health department staff prepared, answers concerns about the proposal posed by members of the restaurant industry, said department director Karen Hacker.

“We do feel that there's some misunderstanding and miscommunication out there,” Dr. Hacker said. “We want to address that.”

The document identifies and answers eight criticisms of the grading proposal that restaurant owners commonly pose.

Health department officials said that the desire of restaurants to earn an A will improve food safety. In Los Angeles, where restaurants have had grades since 1997, establishments with a C reported a 1 percent drop in revenue, according to the document given to board members.

The Board of Health passed the grading proposal Sept. 3. It would post A, B and C grades that reflect how restaurants score on their health and safety inspections.

Allegheny County Council members must approve the plan before it takes effect. The proposal awaits a hearing in council's Health and Human Services Committee. Councilman John Palmiere, chair of the committee, said a final vote could wait until next year.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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