Facts and figures in reading inspection sheet

Facts and figures in reading inspection sheet

Restaurants serve up the meals and health inspectors serve notice that everything had better be by the letter of the law. If not, they'll redline a troubled dining establishment.

But what is the real story behind the health inspectors handy work? In this week's Restaurant Scorecard we're providing you with a study guide that tells you what those black and red marks are all about. It's information you and your family need for the sake of your health.

The State's Health Inspection sheet is color-coded with 44 items. Minor 1 or 2 point violations are in "black" bold type. More critical 5 or 4 point violations like food temperature problems, cross contamination and the presence of insects are flagged in red.

A good rule of thumb, the left side of the inspection sheet strictly deals with the restaurants food and the food handling practices of the staff. Meaning the more losses on the left, increases your risk of ordering something from the menu that could make you sick.

The right side deals with structural problems with the building, the lighting, plumbing and storing food to close to toxic items.

Restaurants across the valley are graded all the time on whether they meet State Health Standards. Some make the grade, others don't.

The goal is 100% compliance, the minimum is 85. But are these state grades good enough to pass your own dining health standards? For a look at all of the highs, the lows and the in betweens, click on the county where you live for a complete list.