We all see the signs. In the windows and behind the counters of our favorite restaurants. These signs are sanitation ratings. We all know they are there, but rarely do we know what they actually mean.
All restaurant ratings are posted online by county in North Carolina by the N.C. Division of Environmental Health. Each posting shows the current sanitation rate, a few of the most recent scores received and a description of why the restaurant scored what they did.
I am particularly interested in some of the popular restaurants in Boone that students, locals and visitors frequently enjoy going to.
Not only can you find information about sanitation ratings online, but there is an app for that too. It’s called HDScores and allows you to search for any restaurant.
Sometimes restaurants do not receive frequent visits from inspectors. There are routine visits that should be made every six months but there are factors that can change this. If a restaurant had a lot of violation, it is not uncommon for an inspector to come back shortly after their last visit. Sometimes an inspector will come by less often if your establishment is doing well.
After searching for quite a few local restaurants, I have decided to hone in on Macados.
One recent inspection of theirs was on April 6 of this year. They scored an 85, which is considerably lower than the other restaurants I searched for.
So what does this score mean? The restaurant received five critical violations. These types of violations bring down a restaurant’s score the most.
These violations include not following the proper eating, drinking, tasting, or tobacco use; not keeping hands clean and properly washed; not keeping hand washing sinks supplied and accessible; not keeping food contact surfaces cleaned and sanitized; and not keeping food at the proper cold holding temperatures.
These violations are considered critical because they are hazardous to the health of the food and the customer. There are many other restaurants around town that have similar violations.
I encourage you to get the app and research the restaurant before you eat there to see just what kind of bad habits they are getting into.
Although I think a score below an A is way too low, a restaurant can score above a 70 and still remain open. Below a 70 though, and they need to be shut down. But would anyone really eat at a restaurant below an 80? I hope not.
It is a restaurant’s job to make sure that the environment is a safe and healthy place for it’s workers and it’s customers. There should be no cutting corners to save money or just to be lazy. Unfortunately, restaurants will continue to have violations, so it is up to us to know if we should enter the restaurant or not. Use the app or search online for the next restaurant you go to. You never know what kind of violations they may have.
Merrill, a journalism major from Chapel Hill, is an opinion writer.