Home Main Category Announcements Spotless… Spitty… Or Spiteful? Contra Costa Adopts At-A-Glance Signage For Restaurants, Grocers

Spotless… Spitty… Or Spiteful? Contra Costa Adopts At-A-Glance Signage For Restaurants, Grocers

A placarding system similar to this one studied by Santa Clara County is coming to Contra Costa.

A color-coded placarding system designed to inform the public of any major health code violations at area restaurants and grocery stores is coming to Contra Costa County – effective April 15.

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the signage at its March 15 meeting, Contra Costa Environmental Health announced Tuesday.

“This is an important step to help the public make informed decisions when dining or shopping in our county,” Board Chair Candace Andersen said. “Placards make it easy for anyone to know a business’s food safety record, just by looking in the window.”

The placards, similar to those in use in Sacramento and other areas of the state, will indicate if a county inspector found serious health violations during the last regular inspection, such as unclean or improperly sanitized kitchen equipment, food measured at unsafe temperatures, or workers handling food while ill or with unwashed hands.

“Our primary goal is to reduce food-borne illness. Other cities and counties that use placarding programs have seen a decline,” Environmental Health Director Dr. Marilyn Underwood said. “Making inspection results highly visible appears to have an impact on making businesses that sell food operate more safely.”

A green placard means the business in question has had no or one major violation. Yellow means two or more violations and red placards will be used if a business is shut down because of an imminent health hazard, such as a vermin infestation or no hot water.


  1. I’ve always found it bizarre that this is left up to the counties, rather than the state. If you’re unfortunate enough to live in a county that doesn’t take this issue seriously, your health could be in jeopardy.

    Most of Southern California has had a posted grading system in place for years, but not other counties. Weird.

  2. Agree with Tom. Recent stories about problems with sanitation at restaurants that market themselves as industry leaders should be enough to suggest placards are necessary. Some consumer protection would be nice.

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