Ontario, Hawaii, Pittsburgh take separate paths to restaurant inspection postings

Hamilton, Ontario, has approved a move to the red-yellow-green restaurant inspection display system initiated by Toronto.

Pittsburgh has decided to reactivate a Board of Health committee charged with developing a cleanliness rating system for restaurants in Allegheny County, one year after board members reversed themselves by scrapping an approved grading proposal following an outcry from prominent local restaurant owners who objected to posting scores on their doors.

Hawaii is working on a new placard system designed to let people know how clean restaurants are, also based on the red-yellow-green system.

“Customers love it. You can look at a glance and see if it’s a red, green or yellow and then make your choice on whether you want to eat there or not,” said Tom Frigge, TOBE Co. Food Safety, a private company that teaches food safety classes and helps restaurants maintain safe operations.

That’s because, who wants to be the politician who says, no, you can’t have that information. Disclosure systems are inevitable. The challenge is to make them meaningful.