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Orange County considers color-coded restaurant health grades

There's a proposal to change the way Orange County restaurants display their health inspection grades.
March 17, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's a "grading battle" going on in Orange County: Not on campus, but in restaurant kitchens. There's a proposal to change the way Orange County restaurants display their health inspection grades.

In Los Angeles County, letter grades have been posted in restaurant windows for years letting diners know how the place did on its health code inspection.

In Orange County, restaurants post orange placards which read either "pass," "reinspection due, pass," or "closed."

The understated orange signs could change. An Orange County grand jury is proposing a color code: red for "closed"; yellow if a place passed conditionally and is due for reinspection; and green if it passed.

Some restaurant workers say they would prefer color codes to what they have now.

"I don't think they notice it at all. Colors, they stand out a little more so they're going to be a little more visible," said restaurant worker Julio Lopez.

"It's easier for the public just to see, Is the restaurant doing what it's supposed to be doing?" said Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach.

But others say color-coding could be confusing.

"Every county around Orange County has implemented a letter grade, so for me to implement any other system other than a letter grade, even given the system we have today, for me it just sets up confusion," said Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer.

County leaders have considered a letter system in the past, but cost concerns blocked the change. Others question whether anything needs to be done.

Some say technology has made it easy to get information about restaurants. You can already access online recent health inspection reports.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has until June 4 to respond to the grand jury report.


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