Legislation was introduced Tuesday to empower restaurant patrons with more information about the public food service establishment's sanitation standards.
Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Hollywood, filed House Bill 1303 after viewing a Local 10 News "Dirty Dining" investigative report that highlights food sanitation found by state inspectors in South Florida restaurants.
"We should be empowering the public with information about the efforts our restaurant owners are taking to insure the health and safety of their customers," said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, who also introduced the legislation with Edwards and who chairs the Senate's Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs.
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The bill creates a grading system similar to one in New York, where food service establishments are required to post their government-issued grade in a conspicuous location.
"A restaurant can have an extensive wine list, gourmet cuisine, attentive service and a Zagat rating, but it can also have a dirty kitchen and food sanitation practices that may lead to food-borne illnesses," Edwards said. "Florida does a good job regulating its restaurants, and those restaurants with good practices should be rewarded by educated patrons who choose them for their commitment to food safety."
There are 1,095 permanent food service establishments in Broward County and 10,976 licensed restaurants in Florida.