Does Your Favorite Restaurant Have a Dirty Secret?

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Restaurant kitchen cleanliness and food preparation practices may no longer be hidden behind closed doors.

An increasing number of local health departments across the U.S. are requiring letters grades to be posted at each establishment’s entrance in order to provide greater transparency about restaurant inspections, USA Today reports.

Until recently, unless you’ve been through the kitchen of your favorite restaurant or have done some diligent research beforehand, you couldn’t be sure what kind of food safety precautions – and slip-ups - are happening when your food is prepared.

And with so many recalls of meat, vegetables, processed foods and additives in recent months, food safety has become more of a concern among people who dine out as well as those who eat in.

Moves toward transparency haven’t been met without protest, however, since bad grades can ruin a restaurant’s reputation.

One New York restaurant owner, Pete Rahas of the Golden Eagle, told Examiner.com that inspections were hurting small business and that his restaurant was shut down because inspectors found a carton of milk outside of the refrigerator, an oversized door and a dented can.  The health department says on its Web site that there was evidence of live rats in the restaurant too, the Examiner reports.

Still, in New York City, retail food service establishments will begin posting their grades prominently in July under a new health department requirement.  And Los Angeles County, for example, already posts restaurant grades online.

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