For more than a decade, the NBC4 I-Team has been investigating Los Angeles County's restaurant grading system.
Big changes were recommended for the food safety program Tuesday by the Interim Director of L.A. County’s Public Health Department, many of them addressing concerns that the I-Team investigations raised.
In May, an investigation revealed how the public is rarely told about foodborne illness outbreaks. In fact, more about those outbreaks could be gleaned from websites like Yelp and Trip Advisor than from county health officials.
When questioned about the lack of transparency back in May, Angelo Bellomo, who supervises the county’s food safety program, said there were ways that officials could improve the system.
"We could be doing a better job in many areas,” he said.
The proposed changes to the county’s restaurant grading system would address many of the existing shortcomings that have been the focus of NBC4 reports over the years, including:
• Preventing a restaurant from receiving an “A” grade if they receive two major violations during an inspection.
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• The online disclosure of all restaurant closures and those restaurants believed to be associated with a foodborne illness.
• Revoking more restaurant permits for businesses with “chronic unsafe practices.”
The changes to the food facility grading system were included in a memo sent to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and obtained by the I-Team.
Public Health plans on implementing these changes immediately and say they will work with the Board of Supervisors if any laws needed to be revised.
You can check the inspection reports of your favorite restaurants by visiting the L.A. County restaurant inspection database here.