City Council approves changes to restaurant health score system

City moves from demerit system to letter grades

By Robert Taylor - Web - News Editor

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio City Council voted Thursday to change the way Metro Health conducts food establishment inspections.

The city said the changes aim to simplify and clarify restaurant inspections by switching from a demerit system to a 100-point scale.

"To improve the transparency of the inspection report, Metro Health will transition from the existing demerit scoring scale in which '0' is considered a perfect score, to a 100-point system where a perfect score will be '100,'" the city said in a statement.

Specifically, Metro Health updated the food code under Chapter 13 of the City Code to adopt the new Texas Food Establishment Rules, the city said. The new grading system takes effect April 1.

In addition to the new grading system, a new voluntary ABC-grade placard system will begin June 1. Under the new system, establishments can choose to display a placard with its letter grade. While it is not necessary to display the grades, establishments are prohibited from showing scores not authorized by Metro Health.

"Metro Health expects that restaurants that receive a grade letter 'A' will be proud to display that result in their establishment," the city said.

There will also be changes to the way farmer's markets can operate in the city. Under the new rules, farmer's markets can begin operating up to two days a week per calendar month. Previously, the events were only permitted for one day.

The city said food establishments will also no longer be able to transfer a license from one location to another.

Other changes include mandatory training for all food handlers, beginning Oct. 1. The requirement applies to all food service workers regardless of position. Training can be done online.

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