Food Ratings System

ChefPima County is fortunate to enjoy a vibrant and diverse culinary community, and the Pima County Health Department is dedicated to seeing it thrive while continuing to ensure the health and well-being of all residents. We know that food professionals are dedicated to making sure their food is as safe for the consumer as it is delicious. After listening to feedback from the industry, we are turning our focus to working with the food operator community to create more educational and supportive inspection experiences. During testing with inspections for multiple establishment types, this new system has led to more accurate and transparent rating awards while still identifying establishments that required a poor rating award or closure due to an imminent health hazard.  

Violations. One of the first steps in this process is to create a more balanced and fair inspection rating system. The goal of this new structure is to create a rating that better reflects an establishment’s performance and puts more emphasis on education and improvement. Under the old system, all violations counted equally regardless of their direct impact on food safety. Even if violations did not lead directly to an imminent health hazard, just a few violations could put an establishment into the “Needs Improvement” or “Probation” rating. Under the new rating system, violations are weighted at two values.

The first are Food borne Illness Risk Factor Violations. These violations pose a direct and immediate impact on the health and safety of the public, will affect your establishment’s final rating and, (as always) must be immediately corrected. The second are Good Retail Practice Violations, which are violations that need to be corrected but do not expose customers to an immediate risk. It takes three of these violations to affect the rating the same as a Food borne Illness Risk Factor violation. Example: Food is being cooked at a proper temperature, but there is no thermometer available to staff. This is a Good Retail Practice violation and must be corrected but would not pose an immediate health risk and may not necessarily affect the rating.

New Rating Level. In addition to measuring violations in a more balanced way, the new system includes a “Satisfactory” rating level. This additional level will give establishments more opportunities to adopt new practices or improvements discussed with the inspector without the consequences associated with a “Needs Improvement” or “Probation” rating.

Ratings:  Excellent (E)   Good (G)  Satisfactory (S)  Needs Improvement (NI)  Probation (P) 

We know the food industry in Pima County has many dedicated professionals who want the best experience for their customers. At the time of your next inspection, your inspector will walk you through the new system and answer any questions you may have. Additional information is available here. If you have immediate questions, please call us at (520) 724-7908.

On behalf of our entire staff, we appreciate your partnership and look forward to working with you to achieve our shared goals of quality, safety, and professionalism.
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Health Department

3950 S. Country Club Road
Ste. 100
Tucson, AZ 85714

(520) 724-7770

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