After the OC Register's exposé of the sanitation in OC's restaurants in 2008, the County Board of Supervisors empaneled a grand jury to examine how to improve food safety in OC eateries.
The grand jury did its research and decided that the best way to avoid these "dining dangers" (ninjas at table 3!) was for OC to adopt the A-B-C letter grade system used in all of our surrounding counties.
The Board of Supervisors decided in December not to move to a letter grade or color-based system, but instead passed a proposal to change the existing inspection seals to show whether the restaurant passed, conditionally passed or failed the inspection.
Nearly ten months later, the first new inspection seals are finally appearing in restaurants throughout the county. If you missed the press release from the county, here's a guide to the new signs:
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
PASS: The restaurant passed the inspection and the inspector doesn't think it needs to be reinspected.
REINSPECTION DUE/PASS: The inspector found food safety violations, made the staff correct them, and is going back to make sure they don't backslide. This seems to be the most common one so far, since most restaurants have at least a couple of minor violations during each inspection.
CLOSED: This one should be pretty obvious, though just because a restaurant was closed down temporarily does not mean it is a "dirty" restaurant. If the restaurant's hot water heater breaks down, for example, the restaurant has to be closed down, but will be reopened as soon as there's enough hot water to ensure that dishes and tools can be cleaned properly.
Just remember that whether the restaurant passed its health inspection and whether the food is any good have almost nothing to do with each other.