Santa Rosa, CA – March 2, 2016 – Today, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted an ordinance to establish a new grading system for food facilities using a color-coded placard program. The new program will improve food safety in retail food facilities and help customers make dining choices with one easy glance. The County’s Environmental Health inspectors will post a color-coded placard (green-pass, yellow-conditional pass and red-closed) at all food facilities showing results of the facility’s most recent inspection.
“We understand the importance of aligning regional efforts while building consumer confidence and awareness of the fine food we have in Sonoma County. Our local food industry plays a key role in tourism and our local economy, so it will be important to hear from the community and food industry as we roll out this new program,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Efren Carrillo.
The color-coded placard increases community awareness through a regionalized, simple and easily-readable format. The posting of a placard will occur in a visible place near the front entrance of a facility, providing residents and visitors with timely access to information that can assist them in making better informed dining choices in Sonoma County. The overwhelming amount of facilities inspected during a trial phase of the program were supportive and received passing scores. Sonoma County joins other regional counties in this program, including Sacramento, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Butte, to provide more information for the customer.
“This new placarding system promotes awareness and compliance. Our goals are to advance food safety by increasing the visibility of food safety standards. Ultimately we hope customers will experience less foodborne illness and our food industry will thrive in an arena in which food safety is recognized,” Stephan Betz, PhD, Director of Health Services stated.
Environmental Health performs health inspections at more than 3,500 food facilities throughout Sonoma County to ensure that food served to the public is safe and that best practices for handling food are being followed to minimize potential risks associated with foodborne illnesses.