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Mercer County Health Department To Issue New Food Safety Placards

New Placards To Provide More Information

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The Mercer County Health Department is revamping the food service placards. It’s the first redesign since the cards were first issued in 2006. The new cards will roll out later this year.

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

The Mercer County Health Department is making major modifications to the food safety placards seen at local restaurants.

“If you have never given much thought to the letters on the door, this is a great time to start,” said Taylor O’Shaughnessy, a health environmentalist with the health department who is handling the redesign.

The placards convey information about the results of food safety inspections.  O’Shaughnessy said all entities that prepare, cook and serve food to the public receive a rating placard upon conclusion of their local health department visit, which happens every six months.

The food establishment can earn an “A” with a score of 93-100 percent, a B with a score of 85-92 percent which may include a corrected priority item and a “C” with a failing score below 85 percent.

The placard design has not changed since 2006, O’Shaughnessy said.

“The placards are an incredibly useful tool when it comes to making informed and thoughtful choices about visiting a food service,” she said. “For example, seeing an ‘A’ on the door tells you that you’re eating in a restaurant that earned a passing inspection score and did not exhibit any priority items. But what about a ‘B’ on the door? What does that actually mean for the customer?”

That is where the new placard design comes into play. The updated design features:

  • Checkbox where inspectors can select which items, or violations, were present during the inspection.
  • Checkbox option for selection of a passed or failed inspection, and a routine or follow-up visit.
  • Color-coded box for the food service rating: green for “A,” yellow for “B” and red for “C.”
  • QR code that directs customers to the health department’s food safety webpage.

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