It has always been the case that health inspectors could shut down restaurants that failed to meet a certain threshold for adequate hygiene. The most distinctive thing about this "report card" approach is that it provides consumers with greater information about inspections that found some problems, but not enough problems to shut down the restaurant. In economic terms, this approach remedies an "information asymmetry," in which the consumer lacks some key information about food production practices.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to do on this site is to visit "advanced search" and then browse the worst-scoring restaurants that were not shut down. For example, the restaurant "La Trattoria" in the screen shot below was not closed. Here are the recorded violations:
New York's effort is the latest in a series of similar innovations around the country. In the past, we described similar but lower-tech health inspection report cards in Los Angeles.
Violations recorded in the following area (s) and a Notice of Violation issued at the reinspection conducted on 09/02/2011. Tip! "Critical" violations are displayed in red.
Violation points: 79
1) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F.
2) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer or thermocouple not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding.
3) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.
4) Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided.
5) Toilet facility not provided for employees or for patrons when required.
6) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
7) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
8) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
9) Accurate thermometer not provided in refrigerated or hot holding equipment.