PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER

Seattle Restaurant Alliance weighs in on our new food safety rating system

Public Health-Seattle & King County is launching a new Food Safety Rating System next week, on January 17th. As the launch date draws near we spoke with the Seattle Restaurant Alliance to see what they think about the new system.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what the Seattle Restaurant Alliance does?

My name is Samantha Louderback. I am a local government affairs coordinator for the Seattle Restaurant Alliance.

The goal of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance is to help its members and the community succeed. We work to develop an active network of restaurant owners, operators and managers focused on the issues that impact the Seattle restaurant community. We represent about 700 restaurant owners, chefs, managers and other industry professionals.

What does food safety mean to the Seattle Restaurant Alliance?   

Louderback: Food safety is critical to the success of our businesses. Seattle Restaurant Alliance members take food safety and the well-being of our customers very seriously. We care deeply about ensuring a safe and healthy environment for our employees and our customers.

Samantha Louderback with the Seattle Restaurant Alliance.

How have you been involved with developing Public Health’s new Food Safety Rating System?

Louderback: Our team participated on the health department’s restaurant grading system subcommittee. Throughout the process we connected and provided input on the new grading system. We also attend the quarterly stakeholder meetings hosted by the Food Program. We appreciate the opportunities the health department gave us to participate.

What do you think about the new system?

Louderback: We believe the process that the health department put together to create the new system was well organized and feedback was thoughtfully considered.We look forward to testing and monitoring this new system for successes and challenges.

Do you think using emojis on the restaurant window signs gives consumers information about food safety in an easy to understand way?

Louderback: We hope so! We know there will be an education process to help customers (and our members) understand what the restaurant window signs represent and we look forward to supporting the health department’s education efforts. Ultimately, we hope our customers are able to easily and accurately determine what each window sign means and how they convey food safety risks.

How do you think the rating system will affect businesses and consumers?

Louderback:  I wish we had a crystal ball. We will see! We look forward to testing this new system and will continue to provide feedback as it is implemented. Our members currently work hard to use good food safety practices every day and will continue to do so. We love our customers and care about their well-being!

Here at Public Health we are proud and excited to launch the new Food Safety Rating System and to share the final restaurant window signs with you next week, on January 17th.

Originally posted on January 13, 2017