Sanitarians inspect restaurants to make sure the food is safe for the public to consume. People expect inspectors for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to be tough but fair.
A comment period has begun on a proposal that will show how safe the restaurant is. The general public should be aware of the system and its potential.
The proposed new system is patterned after one used in Albany, N.Y.
There, sanitarians rank restaurants as in "fair,""good" or "excellent" compliance, depending on how many violations they have.
A color-coded chart shows fair compliance as orange, good as yellow and excellent as green.
But Charleston's proposed rating system goes beyond that because West Virginia adopted the Food and Drug Administration's 2005 food code.
In Albany, restaurants rated as in poor compliance can stay open.
"Here, if it's poor, it's closed," said environmental health director Anita Ray of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. "Under the federal food code we use, if you have three or more uncorrected criticals, it's closed."