Disclaimer: If you are about to eat or have just eaten, you might want to save this post for later….
Towards the end of the summer, we had friends over and were discussing local restaurants. One popular establishment had recently received a “C” rating. In New York City, every restaurant is mandated by law to post their food inspection grade in their window.
Let me back track a bit…
A week earlier, I had given my son two bucks for a slice of pizza and sent him into his favorite pizza joint to buy his own slice. While waiting outside , I leaned on the side of the building and noticed that they had their inspection sticker in the side window (not in the front where it supposed to be) and it was big, fat “C”. We had never before eaten at any place that was given less than an “A”. Even an “A” grade can contain some unsavory findings. I was about to go in and tell my son not to buy it but he emerged at that moment with an already half-eaten slice. I let him finish and then I felt bad about it and I have never taken him back there again.
Soon after, my friends and I were discussing that incident when one mentioned another local place that we all loved and lamented that she sometimes gets a little grossed out because when she orders a chicken dish, she notices that the chicken is so thin and tender, unlike any other chicken she’s ever eaten. So much so, in fact, that she wondered if it is chicken at all. That’s when I got goosebumps because I had wondered the very same thing about the very same restaurant.
Soon after I Googled what the restaurants grades actually mean and I stumbled upon this website which lists every single NYC restaurant and what their current inspection grade is, as well as their prior inspection ratings along with a detailed list of exactly why they received the ratings they did. Here is what I found on one of my favorite places, which had a “B” rating:
Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
Our eating out expenses have dropped considerably ever since.
Then just this morning, I came across a story today about a Chinese restaurant in Kentucky that was closed down when customers saw workers bringing a dead deer carcass that had been hit by a car into the restaurant. It was badly concealed as the men lugged it in a garbage can. The body dripped blood all the way to the kitchen where workers gutted it but claimed they would not serve it to customers. Instead, they say, they were planning on bringing it home for their own consumption. You can bet the health inspectors didn’t buy that one.
Now of course, I check every restaurant before we go there but in the past I didn’t, and I think that maybe I was being irresponsible for not doing so all along. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that may of the places we patronize received A’s and it is those establishments that we continue to go to.
Do you check your restaurant’s health inspections before you let your kids eat there?
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