Detroit/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on June 12, 2024
Detroit's "Dining with Confidence" Ordinance to Display Health Inspection Scores at Local Food EstablishmentsSource: Google Street View

Dining out in Detroit is set to become a more transparent experience with the City Council's recent passage of the "Dining with Confidence" ordinance. The ordinance mandates that local food establishments display a color-coded placard reflecting their most recent health inspection status: a green placard for passing and a red one for those that have been shut down due to health violations.

Detroit City Council member Scott Benson, who has been a driving force behind the legislation, contends that this isn't merely about regulatory compliance. He stated, as per CBS News Detroit, "Doing the right thing by people's health will translate into more dollars for our restaurant industry. And it just highlights Detroit as a destination for foodies and food tourism." The signs are not just an indication of an establishment's health standards, but also an incentive for businesses to maintain a high level of food safety.

While the council had previously rejected a grading system in 2022, as reported by FOX 2 Detroit, this revamped ordinance was shaped through a successful pilot program that kick-started the initiative. Establishments that don't display the new signs as required will potentially face fines. The additional layer of public health safety aims to minimize the occurrences of foodborne illnesses, which Chef Phil Jones noted has been effective in other major cities that adopt similar systems.

The new ordinance has received mixed reactions from the local restaurant community. According to Click On Detroit, there are concerns over the Health Department's capacity to enforce these regulations effectively, given the limited staffing. Critics worry about the "very real threat of jeopardizing the reputation and livelihood of hundreds of restaurants in the city of Detroit and may very well drive investment outside of the city."

Despite these concerns, the push for transparency and public health safety is moving forward. The placards, which are to be placed conspicuously at every food establishment, will also include a QR code linking to the last date of inspection — a move to bolster diner confidence. The initiative, as described by Chef Phil Jones in an interview with CBS News Detroit, is ultimately "about giving them the resources so that they can be more profitable and that our friends and our family can have a great dining experience without the fear of taking home a foodborne illness".