Restaurant grading will change - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Restaurant grading will change

February 7, 2007

Albany -- Do you know the food safety rating of your favorite restaurant? Many people never bother to ask.

Changes to state regulations could make it harder for restaurants to earn a good score. The Department of Human Resources wants to improve your dining out experience. These changes were approved by the DHR Board of Directors in January. 

The Georgia Restaurants Association says a final copy of the new codes are not yet released, and they are not yet implemented. But when they do come local restaurant managers say they'll be ready.

Hand washing, sanitation, and proper food heating and cooling, all affect a restaurant's grade from DHR health inspectors.

Business is sizzling at Albany's new Loco's restaurant. They passed their opening inspection. General Manager Wright Kimbro will make sure it happens every time.

"Here at Loco's we want to make sure that we are the example for restaurants, and not just one of the pack. We want to make sure our dining room facility, our kitchen, our restrooms are top in cleanliness," said Manager Wright Kimbro.

Restaurants statewide were recently informed of changes to the current grading system. It includes changes to categories in how they are graded, and the number of points a restaurant can lose for violating a certain code.

"Overall it's a really common sense method, taking care of storing and handling food properly so there are no outbreaks, and keeping a clean store," said Kimbro.

The codes are set to go into effect later this year after health inspectors are trained in what to look for and about the modified grading sheet that will be issued to restaurants.

Under the new regulations the current rating certificate will include a letter grade in addition to the number. Loco's already does this, but for restuarants who don't, the certificate will have to be put on display within 15 feet of the main entrance.

Wright Kimbro says this helps customers know more about the restaurant they're eating in, and it makes food and beverage managers more accountable in meeting health scores.

"It's for the better of the community and for any business operation that revolves around food," said Kimbro.

And while business revolves around the food, the new grading system will make restaurants revolve around customer safety as well.

All restaurants in Georgia must adhere to the new rules, but the Georgia Restaurants Association says local governments can pass ordinances that make the rules even stricter for restaurants within their jurisdiction. It also says this is the first time in a decade the state has changed the restaurant grading policy.

You can take a look at the changes here .

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=RestaurantGrading/NJ