Restaurant Grading: The Variance in Restaurant Inspection Scores

NEHA began work on an exciting project in 2018, studying the variance in restaurant inspection reporting in jurisdictions across the United States. Through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Associate Program (PHAP), a PHAP fellow was provided to NEHA to support this important food safety project. In collaboration with Dining Safety Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to reducing food borne illness, NEHA is seeking to understand variations in restaurant inspection scores. Additional partners included City Health and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. To learn more about this project and about opportunities for collaboration and participation from health departments, we invite you to continue reading. 

graphic of handshake with text 'we invite health departments to collaborate with us on this project'

Disclaimer: NEHA recognizes that restaurant grading, scoring, or placarding isn't utilized consistently across the United States. It is reported that restaurants in the U.S. are regularly inspected by government entities, but few data exist regarding the variation of restaurant inspection results and the implications, if any, to public health. Through this study, NEHA seeks to examine variations that exist between jurisdictions and the impact this may have on public health.

Infographic: Impact of Foodborne Illnesses at Restaurants

Provided by Dining Safety Alliance 

Infographic by Dining Safety Alliance

Click on image to view full sized infographic.

Additional Resources to Explore


Please contact Laura Wildey, Senior Program Analyst, Food Safety at

EH Topics: 

  • "The phrase “it must have been something I ate” is usually said with a smile and a chuckle, but the reality is that food poisoning is a serious problem. There are tens of thousands of food borne illnesses and several thousand deaths among restaurant guests every year."
    - Dining Safety Alliance
  • "Policies requiring food establishments to publicly post safety inspection “grades” empower consumers, reduce foodborne illness rates, and cut down on health care costs."
    - City Health