State senator Eleanor Sobel wants Florida restaurant grades posted

Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association plans to fight any proposed legislation; Eleanor Sobel says she'll likely introduce bill

(AP Photo/New York City Hall)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Democratic State Senator Eleanor Sobel wants Florida restaurants to post letter grades of their most recent inspections, similar to what's done in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

"I most likely will introduce a bill," she said. "We're working on it right now, and I think this is a very, very important topic."

While the information is available online, Sobel wants restaurants to post it on their front doors.

"People need to be informed about where they are eating," she added.

Download: Restaurant inspections app

In other states, restaurants start with a score of 100 and lose points based on the severity of violations.

Restaurant Grading Poll

"It's not good, it's not good for the industry, it's not good for the consumer," said Carol Dover with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. "We believe that education, education, education -- it is not about putting a grade that is what we call a snapshot in time on the door for everyone to see."

But Local 10 found many restaurants cited for "manager or person in charge lacks knowledge of food-borne illness" or "employee has not received adequate training," indicating employees weren't being educated.

Dover said most violations are often cleaned up before an inspector leaves a restaurant, making it unfair to post a low grade.

People in Wake County, N.C., said low grades keep them out of restaurants. The grading system there has been in place for years.

"If you get below an A, then once you get those items corrected, you can request a re-inspection and we'll go back and make another inspection for the purpose of raising the grade," said Frances Breedlove with Wake County Environmental Services.

Link: Restaurant inspections

"It's a tough issue but we will continue to fight it in the best interest of the industry and in the best interest of the consumer," said Dover.

"I do not believe that one lobbying group can overcome a very good idea," countered Sobel. "It may take time but the time has come to rate the restaurants."