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New rating system will simplify food safety info in Pierce County

A better way to educate yourself when you dine out.

Have you ever tried to find a restaurant’s inspection report online? It can be a chore to look up and hard to understand once you find it.

You deserve to know how safe your food is when you dine out. We are working on a new food safety rating system designed to:

  • Allow you to easily find food-safety info.
  • Encourage and reward safe food handling.
  • Reduce food-related illnesses and outbreaks.

Rating your food safety.

When we conduct routine inspections of food establishments, we look at 50 risk factors. Those are divided into high risk and low risk categories. And violations of different risk factors are worth different numbers of points.

This complex system is a great way for us to help establishments serve you safe food. But when you go out to eat, you probably don’t want that much detail about inspections. You just want to know how safe the food is before you eat it!

Our new system will place each establishment into one of three categories: Great, OK, or Needs to Improve. We’ll post the ratings in plain sight so you can see as you pass by or go inside.

A mock up of three food safety ratings cards showing great, OK and needs to improve

Now is not the time to launch.

Food establishments face unexpected challenges because of COVID-19. They will also navigate new additions to the food code next year.

To give them time to adjust, we plan to launch the new rating system in February 2022.

What you can expect in the meantime.

Our new plan affects most people in Pierce County. We’re hard at work to make sure it works well for everyone.

We established a road map to ensure a smooth roll-out:

Late 2020: We will begin educating the public about the signs and what they mean.

January–December 2021: We will share the rating signs and process with all permitted food establishments during inspections.

That year allows operators to:

  • Learn about the rating signs and where to display them.
  • Practice the new process during inspection.
  • Learn the new food code coming in June 2021.

We want food establishments to be ready when we launch. We’re happy to work with them as they learn the new process.

February 2022: All permitted food establishments will post their food safety rating signs. You’ll see rating signs at restaurants, food trucks, schools and other food services to help you dine out in confidence.

Help us make these signs useful.

Take a closer look at our proposed rating signs and tell us what you think on our food safety rating page. You can sign up for updates on the project and other food safety information as we get closer to launch.