Why is an A+ Important as a Restaurant Food Safety Letter Grade?

For the first time ever, the dining public will now be able to choose a restaurant using a 36 month history of health department food safety scores, converted to a cumulative letter grade. As diners walk the streets in eleven major metro areas this week, they will see window decals honoring those restaurants that have achieved an enviable level of excellence.

Why is this a milestone for food safety? What’s the big deal about an A+ grade?

Western society is measured by grades and letter grades are a system of measurement that is immediately understood – everyone knows what an A+ means.

Many municipalities give letter grades for food safety. Some, like LA or NYC, have been doing so for years. Some municipalities require posting for public viewing and predictably, a health department A grade is prominently displayed with pride. As important and valuable as that is, it represents only one professional approximate 60-minute evaluation. But a 36 month A+ history is a true sign of excellence.


While we display all available scores for the previous 36 months on the DiningGrades.com website, it is the cumulative score, converted to a letter grade that we prominently display. And now we have extended that to window decals that will be displayed in restaurants that have place a high value on food safety.

DiningGrades.com honors the achievement of an A+ with a free window decal, an initiative supported by a strategic partnership with www.DiningSafetyAlliance.org.

Dine out with confidence! Look for the A+ window decal and thank the management for their commitment to food safety excellence.


Author: Dr. Harlan Stueven, MD

Harlan Stueven M.D. is a Board-Certified Emergency physician with sub-specialization in Environmental Toxicology and Board Certification in Medical Toxicology. Starting his career in the USAF, he served as a Flight Surgeon and Environmental Health Consultant Physician where one of his duties was monitoring food safety. In his nearly 40-year practice, he treated a range of medical, surgical and poisoning emergencies. He has been a Medical Director and/or Chairman of several hospital-based Emergency Medicine Departments, served as the President of Emergency and Environmental Medicine consulting group, a physician group Chief Financial Officer and sat on many national, state and local committees. Dr. Stueven founded Dining Grades and the Dining Safety Alliance to improve food safety by increasing awareness of food borne illness and the formation of partnerships within the food industry. He is a consultant to the Wisconsin Retail Food Establishment Grading Work Group; a Co-investigator in a CDC funded “Evaluation of Health Department Restaurant Inspection Programs” project. He has presented at several National, State and Regional conferences on restaurant grading and food safety. He is an accomplished leader, medical researcher, a champion of process improvement, author, and national and international speaker.

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