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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Inspection Ratings


    No. We base a food safety rating on the last 4 routine inspections to show how it has done over time.

    Yes. We update the food safety rating sign after each routine inspection. The date on the sign is the date of the last routine inspection.

    We inspect food establishments 1 to 4 times a year. The amount depends on the complexity of their food preparation. We inspect most restaurants 3 times a year.

    Full inspection reports are available on our website.

    We base ratings on red critical violation points from the last 4 routine inspections. Red critical violations include improper handwashing and temperature control. They have a direct link to foodborne illness.

    • Great —135 or fewer red critical point.
    • Okay—136-299 red critical points.
    • Needs to Improve—300 or more red critical points.


    We designed signs to be easy to understand without reading. You can translate inspection results into a variety of languages on our website.

    We gathered input from the public, staff, our Food Advisory Board, and our Board of Health. We looked at different options like letter grades and emojis matching King County. We believe these food safety rating signs best match the diverse needs of Pierce County.

    No. Food establishments must post signs starting February 1, 2022.

    Food establishments will receive a warning if a sign is missing or obstructed. If a food safety rating sign is missing or obstructed more than once, a facility may have to pay a fine or close.

    Food establishments must post signs starting February 1, 2022.

    Food establishments must post signs at entrances and drive thru windows. Inspectors will help find another location to post if the entrance door doesn't work.

    New food establishments will get a sign stating that they are new and have not received a food safety rating yet. They will get a food safety rating after their second routine inspection.


    Contact us at (253)649-1417 or

    Learn more