Out with the old and in with the new.

The Larimer County Health Department changed their restaurant inspection system for 2020.

The old system consisted of five ratings: excellent, good, fair, marginal, or unacceptable. See it in action here.

The new system only has three ratings: pass, re-inspect, or closed.

Tom Gonzales, the Public Health Director for Larimer County, broke the new ratings down for me:

  • Pass
    • "If you don't have that risk for food borne illness, they pass. They meet a minimum standard."
  • Re-Inspect
    • "If they had some issues and critical violations that need to be corrected, we need to go back and verify those have been corrected. That's the re-inspections."
  • Closed
    • "If you've got conditions where it's unsafe, that's a closure. The third re-inspect leads to a closure."

However, not every restaurant violation carries the same weight.

For example, incorrect temperatures that could cause bacteria are high-risk violations, while simple cleanliness practices are lower-risk.

These risk levels, and how easily fixable they are, factor in to how a restaurant gets rated.

All in all, the new system is designed to be less confusing to consumers. Weld County has adopted it as well.

"Our goal at the health department is to have all of our restaurants and grocery stores and school cafeterias safe," said Gonzales. "Clarity is key."

Townsquare Media lists restaurants inspection results every week — find our latest here.

To learn more about the new system and why it changed, listen to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Tom Gonzales below.

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