senate Bill S2853

Amended

Directs commissioner of health to establish a uniform letter grading system to classify the result of an inspection of a food service establishment

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 24 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO HEALTH
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO HEALTH
  • 24 / Jan / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO HEALTH
  • 24 / Jan / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 2853A

Summary

Directs the commissioner of health to establish a uniform letter grading system to classify the result of an inspection of a food service establishment; directs such commissioner and local health officers to require the display of any letter grade received pursuant to such system; requires reinspection of establishment receiving a grade of less than "A"; provisions do not apply to food establishments in cities having a population of one million or more.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A4157
Versions:
S2853
S2853A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Health
Law Section:
Public Health Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง1352-d, Pub Health L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S1032, A84
2009-2010: S8171, A11528

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2853

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to
the establishment of a letter grading system to classify inspection
results for public food service establishments

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The NYS Department of Health (DOH)
shall establish and implement a uniform grading system consisting of
letters A, B, and C to classify inspection results for public food
service establishments. Such inspection grades shall be posted in a
conspicuous location near the entrance of each food service establish-
ment. Such letter grades and the criteria for designating such letter
grades shall be established by Rule and shall be set by the Department
of Health (DOH) based on objective criteria that evaluates each public
food service establishment's sanitation and food handling practices.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Adds a new public Health Law section 1352-d to authorize DOH
to establish and implement a uniform letter grading system to classify
inspection results for places that serve food to the general public. The
bill requires establishments engaged in the preparation, sale or service
of food for the general public to display the letter grade (A, B, or C)
received on its most recent inspection at the entrance of such food
service establishment.

Such grades shall be based on objective criteria that reflects the safe-
ty and sanitation of the establishment and its food handling practices.
DOH, in establishing criteria for awarding a restaurant's letter grade,
shall consider only the conditions of a food service establishment
related to its food handling practices and the general sanitary condi-
tion of such premises.

The bill provides safeguards to ensure that an accurate inspection is
conducted that truly reflects the cleanliness of such establishment.
Under this bill, if a food service establishment does not receive a
letter grade "A", the restaurant owner will receive the findings upon
which the grade is based. Further, the establishment can ask for a
re-inspection to receive a higher grade. Such re-inspection must be
conducted within 7 to 21 days. Upon such re-inspection, the local
inspector shall assign a letter grade for posting.

Pursuant to the State Administrative Procedure Act and the State Sani-
tary Code, after the second inspection, each public food service estab-
lishment may appeal, on an expedited basis, the letter grade assigned to
it and petition for a different letter grade. During the pendency of
this appeal the second letter grade awarded shall be posted at such food
service establishment.

The letter grade program shall not apply to the following food service
establishments:

-those located in New York City because the NYC Health Department has
already adopted a similar program of letter grading of these establish-
ments.

-bars and taverns that derive less than 10 percent of their gross sales
revenue from the sale of food as opposed to alcoholic beverages.

-that do not engage in the retail sale of food for on or off premises
consumption (i.e. food processing establishments that deliver food to
other food service establishments that will have a posted grade)

-operated in or by primary and secondary schools or correctional facul-
ties.

- operated by charitable organizations, including soup kitchens or other
prepared food distribution programs.

- mobile food vending units.

JUSTIFICATION: DOH is charged with inspecting and supervising all
public places in New York in which food is prepared, sold or served,
including restaurants and cafeterias. Inspectors from local health
departments conduct unannounced inspections of food service establish-
ments to evaluate the safety and sanitation of the premises, and monitor
food handling practices to ensure adequate compliance with state and
local laws.

An unfortunate effect of county-level enforcement is that the evaluation
criteria and grading systems can vary widely between jurisdictions,
making it difficult for consumers reading an inspection report to know
whether an establishment's sanitary conditions are of the highest quali-
ty or some lower level with regard to sanitation and general cleanli-
ness. A clear, concise system of letter grades would make it easier for
consumers to make an informed dining decision and allow for more mean-
ingful comparisons across jurisdictions. Further, such grading system
will encourage all restaurants to more vigilantly upgrade their cleanli-
ness and sanitation standards.

The concept and bill are supported by prominent restaurant evaluators
such as Tim Zagat, who in the New York Times (3/24/10) endorsed the idea
of issuing restaurant grades as a way to encourage restaurants to clean
up their act. In fact, Mr. Zagat maintains that this bill may encourage
more tourism and nation. age of restaurants because they are cleaner.

In Los Angeles, a similar restaurant grading program was instituted over
10 years ago. In Los Angeles, those restaurants that received an "A"
increased from 40% to over 80% in 2007. This indicates that restaurants
take these grades seriously and will beef-up their sanitation and food
handling practices to receive a higher rating. In Los Angeles, 92% of
all local diners favor the grade posting law. In New York, a recent
Zagat Survey reported that 83% of all respondents wanted the health
inspection grades posted.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2004: A.2702 - Referred to the Health Committee
2006: S.2696 - Referred to Health 2008: S.2243 - Referred to Health
2009: A. similar bill S.4589 - Passed in the Senate 2010: S.8171 -
Referred to Rules - Passed Senate 2011 - 2012 - S. 1030 / A. 84

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect one year after it shall have
become a law. The commissioner of health is authorized to promulgate
any and all rules and regulations and take any other measures necessary
to implement this act on its effective date on or before such date.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  2853

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 24, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  KLEIN  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Health

AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to the  establishment
  of  a  letter grading system to classify inspection results for public
  food service establishments

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The  public health law is amended by adding a new section
1352-d to read as follows:
  S 1352-D. PUBLIC FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT  GRADING  SYSTEM.  1.  THE
COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH A SYSTEM FOR GRADING INSPECTION RESULTS FOR
PUBLIC  FOOD  SERVICE  ESTABLISHMENTS,  AS DEFINED IN THE STATE SANITARY
CODE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, RESTAURANTS, DINING  ROOMS,  DELIS,
BAKERIES  OR  ANY OTHER PLACE WHERE FOOD IS PREPARED, SOLD OR SERVED FOR
CONSUMPTION BY THE GENERAL  PUBLIC.  SUCH  SYSTEM  SHALL  USE  AND  POST
LETTERS A, B OR C TO IDENTIFY AND REPRESENT SUCH GRADING AND CLASSIFICA-
TION  WITH  ALL OTHER LOWER GRADES BEING DEEMED TO BE FAILING GRADES. IN
ESTABLISHING SUCH SYSTEM OF GRADING, THE COMMISSIONER  SHALL  TAKE  INTO
ACCOUNT  THE PROVISIONS OF THIS TITLE AND THE PROVISIONS OF THE SANITARY
CODE TO ESTABLISH A GRADING SYSTEM THAT REFLECTS THE SAFETY AND  SANITA-
TION  OF  THE  PREMISES AND FOOD HANDLING PRACTICES TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE
WITH STATE AND LOCAL HEALTH LAWS.
  2. SUCH PUBLIC FOOD SERVICE  ESTABLISHMENT  SHALL  CONSPICUOUSLY  POST
NEAR THE ENTRANCE TO SUCH ESTABLISHMENT THE LETTER GRADE IDENTIFYING AND
REPRESENTING  THE  RESULT  OF  SUCH ESTABLISHMENT'S MOST RECENTLY GRADED
INSPECTION BY THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER. SUCH POSTING SHALL  BE  DONE  IN
ACCORDANCE  WITH  RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE COMMISSIONER.
FOR ANY FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT RECEIVING A GRADE LOWER THAN "A", THE
LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER SHALL ADVISE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ITS GRADE AND THE
FINDINGS UPON WHICH SUCH GRADE IS BASED. THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER  SHALL
CONDUCT  A  SUBSEQUENT  INSPECTION OF SUCH FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT NO

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD07719-01-3

S. 2853                             2

SOONER THAN SEVEN  DAYS,  NOR  LATER  THAN  TWENTY-ONE  DAYS  AFTER  THE
INSPECTION  AT  WHICH THE GRADE WAS GIVEN.  IN THE INTERIM, THE PREVIOUS
LETTER GRADE SHALL REMAIN POSTED.  UPON THE CONCLUSION OF THE SUBSEQUENT
INSPECTION,  THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER SHALL DELIVER FOR POSTING A LETTER
TO THE FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT WHICH INDICATES  THE  GRADE  FOR  SUCH
INSPECTION.    IN  ADDITION  TO A LETTER GRADE, SUCH ESTABLISHMENT SHALL
RECEIVE THE FINDINGS UPON WHICH SUCH GRADE IS BASED.   THE FOOD  SERVICE
ESTABLISHMENT  MAY  APPEAL  SUCH SUBSEQUENT ASSIGNMENT OF A LETTER GRADE
DESIGNATION TO THE COMMISSIONER FOR REVIEW WITHIN THIRTY  DAYS  OF  SUCH
ASSIGNMENT.  WHILE ANY SUCH APPEAL IS PENDING, A FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISH-
MENT SHALL POST THE LETTER GRADE THAT IS BEING APPEALED.
  3. THE SUGGESTED INTERVAL BETWEEN REGULARLY SCHEDULED  INSPECTIONS  OF
FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS MAY BE AS FOLLOWS:
  (A)  FOR ESTABLISHMENTS WITH A GRADE OF "A", AT LEAST ONCE EVERY YEAR;
AND
  (B) FOR ESTABLISHMENTS WITH A GRADE OF "B", AT LEAST ONCE  EVERY  NINE
MONTHS.
  A  FOOD  SERVICE  ESTABLISHMENT  THAT REQUESTS A REINSPECTION FROM THE
LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER, SHALL PAY THE  DEPARTMENT  A  FEE  OF  UP  TO  TWO
HUNDRED  FIFTY  DOLLARS.  PROVIDED  HOWEVER  THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS
SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT NEGATE THE ABILITY OF ANY LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER  TO
INSPECT  ANY FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT ON THE BASIS OF A COMPLAINT FROM
A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC.
  4. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL  NOT  APPLY  TO  FOOD  SERVICE
ESTABLISHMENTS WHICH:
  (A)  ARE  PREMISES  LICENSED  FOR ON-PREMISES CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGES PURSUANT TO THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW WHEN LESS  THAN
TEN PERCENT OF THE GROSS SALES OF SUCH ESTABLISHMENT IS DERIVED FROM THE
RETAIL SALE OF FOOD FOR ON-PREMISES CONSUMPTION;
  (B)  DO  NOT  ENGAGE  IN  THE  RETAIL  SALE OF FOOD FOR ON-PREMISES OR
OFF-PREMISES CONSUMPTION FROM SUCH ESTABLISHMENT;
  (C) ARE LOCATED IN A CITY HAVING A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE;
  (D) ARE OPERATED IN OR BY A PRIMARY OR SECONDARY SCHOOL, OR A  CORREC-
TIONAL FACILITY;
  (E)  ARE  SPONSORED  BY  A  CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION TO OPERATE A  SOUP
KITCHEN OR OTHER FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM FOR THE ELDERLY,  LOW  INCOME
INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES OR THE INFIRM; OR
  (F) ARE MOBILE FOOD VENDING UNITS, MOBILE FOOD VENDING COMMISSARIES OR
TEMPORARY FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS.
  S  2. This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a
law. Provided, however, that effective immediately, any rules and  regu-
lations  necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effec-
tive date are authorized and directed to be completed on or before  such
date.

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