Restaurant Grading System in Place in Alameda County

Diners in Alameda County will now know more about the health and safety of the food being prepared in the restaurants they choose.

Effective July 1, all restaurants in Alameda County (with the exception of Berkley) now have color-coded placards issued by the Alameda County Health Department indicating the rating of the restaurant's cleanliness.

According to the website, the change will effect 6,000 restaurants in the county. The county will make routine inspections of the restaurants.

Look for the placards posted at the front of the eatery.

  • Green means "pass"
  • Yellow means "conditional pass"
  • Red means the restaurant is closed.
Tim July 08, 2012 at 12:53 AM
This new grading system is a big joke. I was a public health sanitarian in NYS for five years and NYC had done the letter grading as well but we didn't feel it was a good idea because there is no real standardization among inspectors. Two inspectors could walk into the same establishment and report completely different findings. I didn't like the letter grading system because of this and I like the new system even less. First off, you will never see an establishment with a Red (closed) placard because this would only happen if the establishment had a critical violation that could not be corrected at the time of inspection. This just doesn't happen because 99% of these kinds of violations can be corrected on the spot. Another point would be the frequency of inspections. Our high risk facilities (based on types of food and methods of preparation) only received inspections twice a year. This inspection is only a tiny snapshot. Remember that most restaurants have their busiest times in the evenings. The inspectors are only out during the daytime when things are generally slower.
Tim July 08, 2012 at 12:59 AM
My bottom line from my experience is this: Ignore the placard. it's just "feel good bs". If you want an idea of how sanitary your restaurant is simply check out the restrooms. If they are clean with plenty of soap and paper towels, there's a high probability of good sanitary practices in the food storage, preparation, and cooking areas as well. Finally, I believe it's still the law in CA that you have the right to request an establishment to produce a copy of their most recent inspection report for you to review on the spot... all the more reason they shouldn't bother with this "feel good" color coded placard nonsense.
Albert Rubio July 08, 2012 at 08:04 AM
There is no reason why the State must take on jobs that can be done more effectively in the voluntary market. "unregulated market" is a commonly misunderstood phrase. A free market is in fact filled with regulations. What is meant by the phrase is a "non government" and compulsory regulated market. The difference is that a free market is open and managed by VOLUNTARY REGULATIONS. All State Regulations should be abolished in favor of voluntary market regulations. These allow for the creation and adoption of improving standards in all industries. Some examples are: * National Everclean Services, Inc., one of the largest independent food safety auditing firm * Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization. Established in 1894 * materials testing, computer languages, etc. The truth is, every industry produces its own standards and voluntary regulation is part of the dynamic marketplace. Watch Milton Friedman's, "Who Protects the Consumer?" (Free To Choose - 1980) "Various government agencies have been created on the claim that they will protect the consumer. These agencies restrict freedom, stifle beneficial innovation, and become agents for the industries or groups they are intended to regulate. Friedman explains how the apparent chaos of the market place, the competition of many suppliers for business, is the best protection of consumer interests." http://www.freetochoose.tv/
Johnny C. July 08, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Will this also be in effect on Food Trucks/ Carts here in Alameda Co ???
Lisa Kphotoalbums July 08, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Add to what Tim said: How many inspectors are REALLY going out there, how often, and how well trained? Are these the same as the Food and Restaurant Health Inspectors who go out and Inspect restaurants on an not often enough regularity??? A friend works for a pest control company as their Commercial Pest sales person...and the stories he has!!!! The number of Restaurants He Will go to in this county is VERY SMALL Because this is His route...and he has inspected many of the restaurants. Until business care to keep their restaurants clean, know how to, and do so continuously there will always be problems.
Mona Taplin July 08, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Lots of comments here to think about. I also have a question. Does the establishment know when the inspectors are coming? Nursing homes do, so I assume so do restaurants. I will say that years ago I worked in a restaurant. It was a very clean, safe place to eat every minute of every day it was open.
Johnny C. July 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Very True Mona ! I remember when I was a waiter during the College years that we keep the Resturant in tip top shape too. I don't remember anyone getting sick or complaining about it either .I do remember when they were inspected once ,we passed with no issues ! But that was 30 years ago - I hope standards haven't fallen here.
Rudy Preston July 09, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Some of the restaurants featured on "Kitchen Nighmares" or "Restaurant Impossible" are so filthy and horrendous, I am just amazed that they are somehow allowed to operate. Granted, they pick the worst of the worst for dramatic effect....but why haven't they been shut down by the health inspectors??????


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