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County of Santa Clara Hosting Workshops and Public Meetings on Restaurant Grading/Placarding System

Restaurant Owners, Consumers Encouraged to Attend to Provide Input
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health is seeking public input on a Restaurant Grading/Placarding System. Workshops for restaurant owners are currently being held across the county; public meetings for consumers will be hosted later this month. The workshops and public meetings will provide an opportunity for members of the public to learn about the system and give their input.
 
“The goals of the Restaurant Grading/Placarding System are to help consumers make informed choices about where to dine, and provide incentives to the restaurants to do better meeting environmental health standards,” said Supervisor Joe Simitian, District 5. “It is very important that the information is accessible to the public and easy to read and understand.”
 
At its meeting on Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors expressed its preference for a Restaurant Grading/Placarding System which includes putting colored placards at restaurants and posting detailed inspection results with numerical scores online.
 
The Department of Environmental Health and core stakeholders are holding workshops and public meetings to discuss the proposal before forwarding a final recommendation to the County Board of Supervisors for consideration. 
 
“We need to make sure that this new system incorporates input from both consumers and restaurant owners,” said Jim Blamey, Director of Department of Environmental Health. “I encourage restaurant owners to attend one of the scheduled workshops. We will also hold meetings with the general public to help us determine how to make the system user-friendly.”
 
Restaurant owners are encouraged to attend one of the workshops that are currently being provided in five languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.
 
“It is important that the system be very easy for consumers to understand,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, District 2. “We live in a very culturally diverse county with different approaches to food preparation. We need to make sure that all restaurant owners are informed about the grading system and provided with necessary training.”
 
Workshops for restaurant owners:
 
TUESDAY, October 15, 2-4 P.M.                           (English)
- Mountain View Public Library
  585 Franklin St., Mountain View
 
WEDNESDAY, October 16, 2-4 P.M.                     (Spanish)
- Gilroy Public Library
  350 W. Sixth St., Gilroy
 
THURSDAY, October 17, 2-4 P.M.    
- Milpitas Public Library                                       (Chinese)
  160 N. Main St., Milpitas
- San Jose Public Library-Tully Branch                   (Vietnamese)
  880 Tully Rd., San Jose
 
MONDAY, October 21           
- Cupertino Community Hall   2-4 P.M.                  (Chinese)  
  10350 Torre Ave., Cupertino           
- Mexican Lindo Restaurant   1:30-3:30 P.M.                   (Spanish)
  1595 Monterey Rd., San Jose        
 
TUESDAY, October 22, 2:30-4:30 P.M.                  (Korean)
- Cherry Sushi
  2910 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
 
WEDNESDAY, October 23, 2-4 P.M.                      (English)
- Giorgio’s Italian Food & Pizzeria
  643 W. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas
 
THURSDAY, October 24, 2-4 P.M.  
- San Jose Public Library-Tully Branch                   (Vietnamese)
  880 Tully Rd., San Jose
- San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
  101 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose                                  (English)
 
TUESDAY, October 29, 2-4 P.M.                           (English)
- Stanford--Arrillaga Family Dining Commons
  489 Arguello, Stanford                          
 
WEDNEDSDAY, October 30, 2:30-4:30 P.M.
- Cherry Sushi                                                   (Korean)
  2910 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
- San Jose Public Library-Bascom Branch              (Spanish)
  1000 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose
 
Public meetings for consumers:
 
MONDAY, October 28, 6 P.M.
-Los Altos Library
13 S. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos
 
TUESDAY, October 29, 6 P.M.
-Morgan Hill Lion's Club
12415 Murphy Ave., San Martin
 
WEDNESDAY, October 30, 6 P.M.
-Santa Clara County Vector Control District
1580 Berger Dr., San Jose
 
For more information, go to: www.ehinfo.org, click on “Proposed Placarding Program Information.”
 
 
Background
In March 2012, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to work with stakeholders to explore the feasibility of implementing a grading/placarding system and determine if the program would meet the needs of the business community and citizens. The purpose of the system is to give incentives for the restaurants to improve services while making it easier for consumers to compare their choices. 
 
A number of California counties already have a grading and placarding system in place, including San Diego County, Los Angeles County, Sacramento County, and Alameda County.
 
County Department of Environmental Health has worked with stakeholders, including consumers, restaurants owners, Chambers of Commerce, California Restaurants Association, Consumer Affairs and Public Health advisory groups, and culinary and educational institutions to study and compare the different models and recommended the Sacramento County Model to the Board of Supervisors on October 8, 2013. The Sacramento County Model emphasizes critical risk factors of food-borne illness, poses a lower cost to businesses, and is easy for the public to understand.
 
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors reviewed staff recommendations and gave further direction to aid in the development of the program. The Department of Environmental Health will return to the Board of Supervisors with a final proposal by the end of the year.

 

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Heather Forshey, Consumer Protection Division (408) 918-1958
Posted: October 10, 2013