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Orange County Fails to Notify Public of Failing Restaurants

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A grand jury report released today (.pdf) said that Orange County patrons of food institutions are hardly notified of the conditions inside the restaurant. Unlike Los Angeles County where A-B-C grades are posted in the front window, Orange County restaurants only have to display placards saying they are either "in substantial compliance" with food-safety standards, or awaiting a re-inspection, according to the OC Register. The report says that the public is "almost universally unaware" of the placards.

Inspectors at the Environmental Health Division of the Orange County Health Care Agency are said to be extremely thorough, but critics say they are "friendlier to restaurants than to the diners who patronize them."

But inspectors are only implementing policies set forth by the county's Board of Supervisors, according to Howard Sutter, spokesman for the division. In 1999, the current system was set up after the board was presented with various options of notification, which included the A-B-C system that Los Angeles currently employs. One might question the politicians' motives behind keeping the placards friendly to businesses and un-communicative to the public.

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Notice in the image below how small the "re-inspection" line is:

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Photo by jslander via Flickr | Image via Orange County