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Pasadena health department rolls out new restaurant rating system

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No longer will restaurant patrons in Pasadena wonder exactly how close to a “B” grade that “A” restaurant got. The Public Health Department rolled out a new grading system on July 1, 2014, that scores restaurants, markets, bakeries, bars, school cafeterias, commissaries and retail food processing facilities on a 100-point scale.

The “A-B-C” placards are being replaced with placards that display Pass, Conditional Pass or Closed and a number indicating the score received at the time of inspection. Food facilities are required to publicly display the placards, which include a QR code that can be scanned with a smart phone app for additional information on the food facility.

An online database displays the status and score as well. Type in the name of the facility or the street and city, and a page will come up with the score for facilities inspected since Jan. 1, 2014. Clicking on the name of the facility opens a page with a detailed breakdown, including the severity of each violation, and inspection date.

Facilities that have not yet been inspected under the new system do not have scores in the database, but there is supposed to be a link to previous inspections if it recognizes the name. We found that the database did not recognize some of the names typed in. Searchers should also be aware that places that have a Pasadena address may not actually be in the city limits and are subject to the Los Angeles County Department of Health ratings.

Here’s how the rating system breaks down:

  • “Pass” rating is received for a score of 85 to 100.
  • “Conditional Pass” with a score of 75 to 84 indicates minimal code compliance and that a follow-up inspection will be done.
  • “Conditional Pass” with a score of 74 or less means minimal compliance was achieved, but violations were found that mandate a Permit Suspension Hearing and a follow-up inspection.
  • “Closed” indicates an imminent health hazard that required shuttering the facility or a suspension of the permit due to non-compliance. These placards will indicate the reason for closure instead of a numerical score.

Pasadena and Long Beach are the only two cities in Los Angeles County that operate their own health departments. Mandatory food facility inspections are required by the State of California Health and Safety Code.

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