“My Goals in creating DiningGrades.com were to increase awareness of food poisoning and empower the consumer to identify restaurants needing improvement.” Harlan A. Stueven MD
Fairplay, CO (PRWEB) December 9, 2010
As an Emergency Department Doctor for nearly three decades, Dr. Harlan Stueven saw patients suffer and die from food poisoning. So he created a new website, DiningGrades.com, the first and only rating system empowering the consumer to grade a restaurant’s cleanliness and hygiene. If the consumer gets sick from dining out, they can report the event to the health department and to the participating restaurant.
Food poisoning is a bigger problem than people realize!
The Center for Disease Control estimate there are 5000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions, and 87 million persons sickened by food borne illness per year at a cost of nearly 3 billion dollars. Studies show a staggering 44 % of this epidemic is traceable to restaurants.
Consumers rely on Public Health inspections, done infrequently and sometimes only once a year to ensure hygienic compliance. Tragically, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reports 66 percent of restaurants had high-risk food safety violations. Violations cause food poisoning.
Consumers dine out and witness unclean food preparation, sloppy serving, dirty tables or silverware and are served food improperly cooked, contaminated or not fresh. But who do they tell?
It is tempting to walk away taking no action, but now, that experience can be rated from a cleanliness and hygienic perspective, using a copyrighted system, on DiningGrades.com. The questions are simple yes or no, are assigned a demerit and are objective. The demerits generate a grade. Grades from every rating are continually merged. It is fast and easy to rate a restaurant. Beginning to end, it takes less than 2 minutes.
DiningGrades.com is also available as an iPhone application. The GPS feature finds the next clean dining location, provides comments about cleanliness from other diners and helps make online reservations. When finished dining, it is easy to rate the restaurant at the table.
By rating a restaurant, consumers learn what to watch for, and there are critical things to look for.
The FDA Food Code has over 50 inspection items. Many can be observed outside of the kitchen.
Selected Food Code items, as well as important medical hygiene standards, are part of the grading system and grades do make a difference. The LA restaurant hygiene grading program generated a 13.1 percent decrease in the number of food borne disease hospitalizations.
DiningGrades.com makes it easy to report a food poisoning event.
The CDC estimate that nearly 38 million Americans get ill yearly after restaurant dining.
Our pastor’s father died from contaminated seafood.
A friend’s father got hepatitis and still suffers years later.
A pharmacist’s spouse was hospitalized and nearly needed dialysis.
Unfortunately many events are not reported.
Now consumers can anonymously report those events on DiningGrades.com. The report is then emailed to the respective State Health Department for investigate and to participating restaurant promoters as an early warning of potential epidemic.
DiningGrades.com is concerned about food handler education.
DiningGrades.com has affiliated with Bruce Kress, who has 35 years experience as a Restaurant Inspector. He is certified by the National Restaurant Association as a ServSafe instructor. Through this affiliation, Dining Grades is offering educational programs to restaurants designed to improve food handler hygiene.
DiningGrades.com monitors food recalls.
In the past months there have been many food recalls including: alfalfa sprouts, fresh spinach, ground beef, breakfast cereals, solid white tuna, a nationwide egg recall and more.
These recalls have affected virtually every region of America.
While these reports were in the media, some of these products may still be in the kitchen. Recalls are posted on the DiningGrades.com Facebook page. Friends and family will want to know.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, major metro media and lawmakers are calling for a universal restaurant cleanliness grading system. LA and NYC have been leaders in creating a letter grade. These systems are a critical step by governments, but DiningGrades.com has created a new, innovative, dynamic restaurant grading system that empowers the consumer to watch for cleanliness and hygiene. If there is a poisoning event, DiningGrades has a mechanism to report it to the health department and to participating restaurants. DiningGrades.com is joining the fight on food poisoning.