Post a restaurant’s “health grade” at the door and you may lower the chances its patrons will get sick with salmonella, a new study claims.
Researchers compared salmonella infection rates in New York City to the rest of New York state before and after the city implemented a letter grading system.
Before the city introduced letter grading, it had higher rates of salmonella infection than in the rest of the state, but rates were comparable after the program was implemented in the city.
After letter grading was introduced, the rate of salmonella infections in the city fell 5.3 percent a year compared with the rest of the state, the researchers found.
The study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect. But it may be that letting patrons know about a restaurants’s inspection history leads to a “reduction in the burden of foodborne illness,” said study author Melanie Firestone. She’ a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.
“Implementing of a letter grade program is a relatively inexpensive tool that has the potential to drive reductions in the incidence of foodborne illness,” Firestone said in a university new release.
“State and local health departments should consider adopting similar programs as a means of improving public health,” she suggested.
The findings were published online recently in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Salmonella causes more than 1 million illnesses each year in the United States.