Health officials are soliciting public comment on the proposal to institute a system that would require each restaurant to post its most recent grade in full view of potential customers. The restaurants receiving Bs and Cs would be inspected more often than those meeting the highest standards for food safety.
Dr. Thomas Farley, city health commissioner, said the health department inspects 24,000 restaurants each year to monitor their compliance with the city's Health Code.
By making the results easy to understand -- and putting them on public display -- the system would help consumers make more informed choices about where to eat, while giving restaurants a strong incentive to stay clean, Farley said.
Currently, about 30 percent of the city's restaurants would qualify for A grades, 40 percent Bs and 26 percent Cs.
"Many restaurants in New York have excellent food safety practices, but too many operate at the margin," Farley said in a statement. "Customers should know how closely restaurants are following health department standards for sanitation before they sit down to eat. When they do, restaurants respond, and that's good for everyone."