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BWW Blog: Killer B's in New York City?

BWW Blog: Killer B's in New York City?

Did you ever plan to go out to a restaurant until you see there is a big "B" in the window? And, right next door is another restaurant with an A prominently posted. If you're anything like me, you may shy away from the spot with the B, thinking that there is something wrong with the cleanliness of the restaurant. Let's face it, a B is not good for business. And with all the restaurants on one city block, New Yorkers can afford to be choosy. What do these inspection ratings really mean, and how do they influence the preparation of your food or the cleanliness of a restaurant?

The Health Department inspects about 24,000 restaurants a year to monitor compliance with City and State food safety regulations. Since July 2010, the Health Department has required restaurants to post letter grades showing sanitary inspection results. Restaurants with a score between 0 and 13 points earn an A, those with 14 to 27 points receive a B and those with 28 or more a C. After an inspection, you may also see a "Grade Pending" sign. Needless to say, that C score does not encourage confidence at all. But how far apart are the A's and the B's?

Scores reflect health and hygiene practices in restaurants and they are graded on everything from food handling and food storage to sanitary conditions. Having food establishments rigorously inspected is for your safety to insure that food borne illnesses are not spread.

You can search area establishments with a name and the zip code on the health department web site to find out what they earned in inspection. The site also will tell you more about inspection procedures in the city. Just go to, It may help you to select a restaurant that you feel confident about next time you are dining out.

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