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