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King County Public Health Developing New Restaurant Grading Display

Public Health — Seattle & King County
The survey show the six options the county is considering.

People eating out at restaurants in King County will soon have a new way of seeing how safe those eating establishments are. Public Health — Seattle & King County is developing a grading display to show how restaurants have performed in their food safety inspections. The information will be required to be posted so that customers can see it when dining out.

Program manager Becky Elias says they’re looking at a half dozen possible designs and asking the public for feedback.

"It'll be essentially an extension of their permit, where it's a requirement as part of having a permit with the health department that they display in their food business, how well they performed on their inspections." she said. "And we're at the final stages now, where we're asking people to give input to the actual design of the signs that they'll see, so that we make sure that they are able to take in the information in a way that's most useful for them." 

The six possibilities are shown in a survey that can be taken in several languages and all but one of the designs uses emojis to show the restaurants’ grade, from ‘excellent’ to ‘needs improvement.’  

Elias says since 2001, the county has required the inspection results to be posted online. But the new displays will be a first in Washington state.  There’s one more week to take the survey. After the design is chosen, the new signs will be phased in starting next January.  

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to