Restaurant Inspection Score Signs Lack "Critical" Info

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Walk into any restaurant and the sign should be posted near the door. It shows the business's health department inspection score. It has a big letter and number grade. The score is good to know. It's one way you can tell if a company follows the best practices to keep you from getting sick. But 2 Wants To Know found the score on the sign doesn't tell the whole story.

In restaurant inspections there are two types of violations - minor and critical. The state says critical violations have a higher chance of making you sick. But you can't tell what type of violations inspectors found by just looking at the score on the sign.

For example, 2 Wants To Know found restaurants with a 98...but the staff didn't wash their hands - a critical violation which could make you sick. Another had food that's not kept cold enough causing bacteria to grow.

We asked Guilford County Health Department's Sandy Ellington why violations aren't listed on the sign.

"The goal is to keep it simple for the public," Ellington said.

Simple so more people will hopefully look at the sign. She adds if customers want to know more about a restaurant's score: "They can actually speak to the manager if they want to know what we took points off for, or they can actually check the website," Ellington said.

2 Wants To Know reviewed the website. Of the 304 Guilford County restaurants earning As in January, 57 percent had at least one critical safety violation. But again, customers would never know from the signs currently hanging up.

"I want to know that because I'm eating it. This is my health. this is my life," customer Andrea Lanier said.


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