• Georgetown Times
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DHEC restaurant grades: What do they really mean?

  • Friday, September 6, 2013

  • Updated Monday, September 23, 2013 11:33 am

Have you ever wondered what the A, B or C grade posted at the entrance of restaurants and food service companies mean?
Some questions arose after restaurants in the Georgetown County area were recently upgraded from a C grade to an A after their initial inspection.
All restaurants and food service establishments are required to post their most recent DHEC rating signs at their facility.
According to Lindsey Evans, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) spokesperson, the rating system indicates the facility’s ability to meet DHEC’s standard for quality. 
“The sanitation ratings are: A-Excellent, B-Acceptable, C-Marginal,” Evans said. “These ratings are derived from inspections and the facility’s compliance with regulated standards.”
These ratings are explained further on the DHEC website, www.scdhec.gov.
Grade A  — The food service establishment earned 88-100 points. Its sanitation and food safety practices scores appeared to be in the “acceptable to very good” range during DHEC’s unannounced routine inspection.
Grade B  — The facility earned from 78-87 points. Its sanitation and food safety practices appeared to be in the “marginal to acceptable” range during DHEC’s unannounced routine inspection.
Grade C  — The food service earned from 77-70 points. Its sanitation and food safety practices appeared to be in the “poor to marginal” range during DHEC’s unannounced routine inspection.
Restaurants and food services are subject to additional inspections based on complaints and/or routine inspection scores, Evans said.
“Follow-up visits are based on the results of the initial inspection and are scheduled as needed,” Evans said. “Anytime we have a critical risk factor issue, a follow-up inspection is performed.”
Critical risk factors include:
• Properly cooked — potentially hazardous food
• Proper holding temperature — potentially hazardous food
• Proper cooling and reheating — potentially hazardous food
• Personnel with infections restricted
• Proper hygiene: Hands clean, nails, properly washed, glove use, handsink access
• Cross contamination: Prevented, food protected
• Wash, rinse, sanitize: Clean, concentration
• Food from an approved source and sound condition
“Restaurants are required to be inspected once a year, however, they are subject to additional inspections based on complaints and/or routine inspection scores,” Evans said.
Scores listed are for both unannounced routine “R” and follow-up “F” compliance inspections.
Search for the most recent restaurant grades of local businesses at http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/envhealth/food/htm/inspection-rating/

By Clayton Stairs
cstairs@gtowntimes.com

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