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Look for food safety rating signs when you dine out, starting next month!

Close up of  food inspector shares rating sign with food establishment operator.

Our new signs will make it easier to find and use food safety info.

Our food safety inspectors work every day to provide a safer dining experience for you and your family. We inspect every place that serves food in Pierce County, from restaurants and food trucks to high school concession stands and farmer’s markets.

You can find the inspection results online, but you’ve told us they can be confusing.

A better way to tell you about inspection results.

In 2018, we looked at how other counties and cities share food safety info. We also gathered input from our Food Advisory BoardBoard of Health, restaurants and the public and began working to develop our own system.

Community-based focus groups in multiple languages helped us create signs anyone in Pierce County can understand.

In 2021, we shared the signs with restaurants when we conducted inspections. We asked for feedback and explained what to expect. Your favorite restaurant won’t be surprised when the signs go up.

Signs are based on the last 4 routine inspections.

We’ll post the ratings in plain sight so you can see as you pass by or go inside. You’ll see 3 categories:

  • Great—We found very few or no concerns.
  • Okay—We found some concerns.
  • Needs to improve—We found many or repeated concerns.

About 0.1% of restaurants would get a “needs to improve” sign at a given time. We work closely with restaurants that need to improve to get them on the right track.

We sometimes close a restaurant temporarily.

A restaurant might close if it has a pattern of food safety problems or an immediate health risk like:

  • Lack of refrigeration.
  • Fire, flood or power outage.
  • No hot water.
  • Sewage backup.
  • Restroom not working.
  • No permit.
  • Foodborne illness.

Most facilities quickly reopen after they fix the problem. Closure for repeated violations is rare.

We give new restaurants a chance to learn the ropes.

New restaurants will get a sign that says they don’t have a rating yet. They will get a rating sign after they have more inspections. You’ll still be able to see how they did on their inspections.

Dine out in confidence!

Look out for the new signs in restaurants, grocery stores, and any other place that serves food starting in February.

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