Should Baltimore Start Assigning Restaurants Letter Grades?

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New York City's letter grades for restaurants

Unlike, say, New York, Baltimore doesn’t assign letter grades to restaurants following health inspections. But Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott is bringing back a proposal from 2012 that would do just that.

It’s strange, when I eat in New York City I am almost obsessed with the letter grades. When I see a “B” as I walk into a restaurant my mind starts working overtime to imagine what could be going on in that kitchen that kept them from an “A” grade. And a “C”? Forget it. Too freaked out. But in Baltimore, where that kind of information is not available, I never worry about the cleanliness of a kitchen.

The bill, set for a hearing with the health committee on Sept. 9, would allow opportunities for restaurants that rank below “A” to get their act together and get reinspected before being assigned a final grade. The health grades would be searchable on the health department’s website (which I will probably start checking more frequently than Facebook).

By the way, back in April, the Daily News attempted to put New York’s rating system in perspective by asking health inspectors to grade the kitchen of their features editor. The result? He got a “C.” His fridge was too warm. He lacked thermometers. He stored meat next to fruits in the freezer.

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