The City Council is moving forward with a legislative package that will reform the city’s restaurant inspection system Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilman David Greenfield announced Tuesday.
Standing in front of Jerry’s Café, in lower Manhattan, the two Democrats said that their major concern about the current system is the sharp increase in the number of fines issued since the letter grade system was implemented, inconsistencies across inspections and adversarial relations between restaurants and city inspectors.
“Food safety is no longer the focus,” Greenfield said, adding that the emphasis under the current administration has shifted to collecting revenue for the city.
The legislative package will result in across-the-board fine reductions, provide fine waiver for restaurant owners who contest an initial inspection’s findings and ultimately receive an “A” grade, establish an office to address complaints, develop a pamphlet that inspectors will distribute prior to an initial inspection, ensure ongoing review of the inspection program, and provide relief from violations relating to the physical layout or structure of a restaurant.
The New York Post has reported that approximately 66 percent of the fines issued over the past two years were for issues unrelated to food safety or quality.