King County food safety emoji ratings.
August 14, 2017 | by The Polyclinic

You might have noticed emoji’s in the window of your favorite restaurant or across various food businesses in town. That’s because Public Health – Seattle & King County changed the food inspection reporting system at start of 2017. Emoji’s are displayed to provide better visuals for customers to see how safe it is to eat at each restaurant they visit. You can find an example here.

The new reporting system has gradually been implemented across the county and that’s why you’re seeing more emoji’s in restaurant windows across town. Here’s what you need to know about the new food safety reporting system:

How Restaurants are Graded

If a restaurant passes the minimum food safety standards for the county, they are allowed to operate and open business. Each restaurant that passes the county’s food safety standards is given a grade/food safety rating.

There are four food safety ratings (emoji’s for each rating above):

  • Needs to Improve: The restaurant was either closed by Public Health – Seattle & King County within the last year or the restaurant needed multiple return inspections to fix food safety practices.
  • Okay: The restaurant has had MANY red critical violations over the last four inspections.
  • Good: The restaurant has had SOME red critical violations over the last four inspections.
  • Excellent: The restaurant has had NO or FEW red critical violations over the last four inspections.

What are Red Critical Violations?

Red critical violations are food-handling practices that may potentially lead to food-borne illnesses. Examples of food-handling practices include proper handwashing, clean surfaces, cooking at safe temperatures and refrigerating promptly.

Using the New Reporting System

Did your favorite restaurant grade well when it comes to food safety? The new inspection ratings were created to help people understand the food safety at each restaurant and make a decision on the spot. It’s important to understand what each safety rating means so you can do your own inspecting. Make sure to look for those emoji’s in each restaurant window!