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Placer Sentinel

New Food Safety Placards Coming to Placer County Restaurants

Feb 09, 2016 12:00AM ● By Source: Chris Gray

Knowing whether a restaurant is a safe place to eat in Placer County will soon be as simple as reading a stoplight.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors today approved a new ordinance to establish the Placer County retail food facility placard program. The inspection program will provide a color-coded placard to all permanent food facilities so information on the establishment’s food safety is easily visible.

“Having that right by the window, the customer doesn’t have to go in - they instantly see it,” said Peggy Zarriello, assistant director for environmental health services. 

The system is also designed to minimize the occurrence of foodborne illness.

Three colors are associated with the program.

Green means a facility has passed inspection. No major violations are present at the end of the inspection. A re-inspection may be conducted if any minor violations are not corrected.

Yellow means a facility has passed the inspection conditionally. A conditional pass may be issued if one or more major violations are present and remain uncorrected after the routine inspection is complete as long as there is no immediate public health issues associated with the violations. A re-inspection may be conducted to verify compliance.

Red indicates the facility has been ordered closed, reserved for when an imminent threat to public health and safety is observed. Examples include but are not limited to: operating a food facility without a current valid health permit, surfacing sewage, no hot water, rodent or insect infestation, or other unsanitary conditions. The red placard must remain posted and the facility closed until a re-inspection is conducted to confirm that the imminent health hazard no longer exists. 

“We want everyone to have a green placard,” said Placer County Environmental Health Director Wesley Nicks, “as that placard represents compliance with health standards and that is the mission.”

Restaurant owners who attended one of the eight workshops conducted over the last few months to describe how the program works and to ask for feedback were almost unanimously in favor of the new placard system.

A facility’s initial placard will be based on its last inspection. Placer County inspects all food facilities twice a year. The new placards will be mailed to all restaurants with their renewed health permits starting in late April.

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