Using Emojis to Convey Food Safety- How King County is updating it's Restaurant Grading System

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Councilman Dunn Banner

E Newsletter- Your Update on What's Happening at the King County Council   

New Restaurant Grading System Uses Emojis to Keep Residents Safe

How King County is updating its' restaurant grading system to better reflect food safety practices. 

King County recently started a new system of rating restaurants in order to better protect the public against food borne illnesses. In the past, consumers had to go online and shift through often confusing descriptions of restaurant assessments. Now consumers can quickly judge prior to entering the establishment the quality of the inspection record of a restaurant, allowing consumers to make informed decisions. 

The new system seeks to balance clear messaging with a better, more accurate picture of a restaurant's performance. Each emoji sign corresponds to the restaurant's pattern of good inspections, with fewer violations indicated by a happier emoji sign. 

  • Needs to Improve: The restaurant was either closed by Public Health – Seattle & King County within the last year or the restaurant needed multiple return inspections to fix food safety practices. 
  • Okay: The restaurant has had MANY red critical violations over the last four inspections. 
  • Good: The restaurant has had SOME red critical violations over the last four inspections.
  • Excellent: The restaurant has had no or few red critical violations over the last four inspections.

A recent editorial was written in the Seattle Times supporting this change. For a video with more information about the new rating system click here. If you have questions or comments feel free to contact my office by emailing or calling 206-477-1009. 

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