food safety

Flickr user Mike Licht

Allegheny County Council on Tuesday voted down a proposal to change the way the results of restaurant health inspections are communicated to the public.

The proposal would have tied existing narrative reports to number and letter grades, ranging from A to C, and posted those letter grades in conspicuous locations at the restaurant or food service site.

Only Councilman John Palmiere, chair of the Committee on Health and Human Services, voted in favor of the legislation.

The Allegheny County Health Department's effort to update its restaurant grading system is getting a boost from the 2015 budget presented this month to county council.  The $839.2 million budget drafted by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald includes an increase in funding for the department's food inspection effort.

Jim Thompson, deputy director of environmental health, says the Health Department will increase its number of full-time food inspectors from 20 to 22 if council approves the spending plan.

Flickr user Mike Licht

The Allegheny County Health Department wants you to help set its priorities as it attempts to become the healthiest county in the nation.

That’s according to department director Dr. Karen Hacker, who said the county is now moving into the second phase of its community health assessment process. The first phase was an online comment period, which Hacker said garnered more than 1,000 responses.

The Allegheny County Board of Health voted to move forward on crafting a new restaurant grading system that would give eating establishments a letter grade from "A" to "C."

If you want to know how your neighborhood sandwich shop or your favorite sushi restaurant fared on its last health department inspection, you can find that information online, but those reports can often be full of jargon and difficult to interpret.

Now, the Allegheny County Health Department is working to make that information easier to digest by implementing a four-tiered grading system for restaurant inspections.

Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the county health department, said they’re still figuring out how that grading process would work.