Every year, one in six Americans gets sick from foodborne illnesses, and 3,000 people die from them.
Foodborne illness is preventable and San Mateo County is rolling out a new way for customers to easily see how their favorite restaurants score on food safety.
A new food safety sign system will begin January 2016. Using familiar traffic light colors, green, yellow and red signs, called placards, will be displayed as a simple way for the public to see how a restaurant has scored on their food safety inspection. The placards will need to be clearly visible to the customer, either in the window, or right when the public walks in the door, at eye level.
The new-color coded placards will be required at approximately 3,000 permanent food facilities that prepare food throughout the County, including restaurants, mobile food trucks, bakeries, schools, licensed health care facilities, and some convenience stores.
San Mateo County will join other Bay Area cities and counties in using the new green, yellow, and red placard system. This will help create a consistent way for the public to make informed decisions when eating out and a consistent process for food operators who may have food facilities in different cities or counties.
Detailed training for operators on how to earn a green placard is scheduled to begin June 2015 with January 2016 as the start date for posting colored placards.
Information for Restaurant Owners
San Mateo County Environmental Health Services is here to help make the transition to the new placarding system easy.
The green, yellow, and red placards are also being put into place across the Bay Area. Restaurants with locations in multiple counties will benefit from standard inspection techniques and grading across the entire region.
Additionally, the placards focus on food safety, helping you to educate your staff about how to prevent conditions that could make your customers sick. Environmental Health will provide training about how to make sure your facility gets a green placard—the highest rating—which gives you a way to showcase your successful commitment to food safety.