Miss. health officer says restaurant requirements unchanged

The Mississippi Department of Health is

dropping the pass or fail rating for restaurant inspections, not

what eateries must do to be clean, officials say.

Beginning in some areas of state next week, instead of pass or

fail, the Department of Health inspectors will hand out A's, B's

and C's to restaurants around the state.

The actual criteria aren't changing, said interim state health

officer Dr. Ed Thompson. He said the rating will still be based on

Food and Drug Administration criteria focused on measures that

prevent food-borne illness, such as keeping refrigerators set at

below 40 degrees.

Restaurants will be required to display their grades and the

copy of their inspection with their food permit.

An "A" will go to restaurants with no violations. Restaurants

that can correct critical violations before the inspector leaves

get a "B." Restaurants with "C's" will have critical violations

that require re-inspection, typically within a few days. If they

correct them, they get to move to a "B."

"There's no F," Thompson said during a meeting with the

editorial board of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal


"If there's an immediate threat to public health, they can

close the restaurant."

Such situations, he said, are rare.

Thompson said the Health Department plans to re-inspect all

restaurants by the end of the year with the new system.

Thompson said the new system will start next week in north

Mississippi and then elsewhere as training of inspectors is