NYC Health Dept. may add smartphone-accessible barcodes to restaurant letter grades

Ever wonder what conditions in a restaurant earned it a letter grade from the NYC Department of Health?

In the past year, restaurants have been subject to posting the letter grade bestowed upon them after being given a month to achieve “A” status. Latest inspection details for restaurants are available online, but especially in a city like New York that’s so foot-traffic driven, mobile access to more detailed reasons for a restaurant’s violations adds a new layer of decision making criteria. For instance, would you be more likely to forgive a violation for cleaning rags not stored in sanitizing solution or one for vermin and vermin droppings present in food preparation areas?

Spokeswoman Erin Hughes confirms:

“The Health Department is exploring the possibility of putting bar codes on restaurant letter grades that would take consumers directly to a restaurant’s latest [inspection] results.”

It would be interesting to see if the user interface on the proposed barcode-scanning mechanism would be any easier to operate than the’s Health Department website- currently, a lot of tiny, buried links and “confirm form resubmission” errors hamper attempted navigation for the site, and this would only be more annoying from a tiny iPhone screen. Still, prospecting for new spots in an unfamiliar neighborhood or borough could be a little less risky if the barcodes are added.

Would you scan a restaurant’s inspection before eating there if given the option? Was your favorite New York City haunt on the many-violations list?

[NYDN via Consumerist]