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Restaurants Are Dirtier Than You'd Like to Know

Restaurants Are Dirtier Than You'd Like to Know

A recent study by the Center For Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has shown that restaurants are incredibly dirty. From moldy refrigerators to live cockroaches to unsanitary prep and cook surfaces, the study illustrates the huge number of restaurants that are cited with health-code violations. Sarah Klein, an attorney for the CSPI, explains why most restaurants have a long way to go before they meet the Food and Drug Administration's health codes:

Restaurants aren't motivated to pass a very high safety bar. A restaurant may commit violations that the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention would classify as most critical — improper holding temperatures, poor employee hygiene, food bought from unsafe sources, food that is not thoroughly cooked, or food surfaces that are not properly disinfected — without much fear of being shut down. Even violations that involve rat infestations or unwell employees (restaurant workers tend not to get paid sick days) also may not lead to closure. Restaurants only have the incentive to do what they need to do to stay open. The consumer would never know how close they were to being shut down.

While opposition is quick to point out that the inspectors could have been too harsh, I have a feeling the study's disturbing conclusions may be true. After all, Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares takes an insider's look at such kitchens. Although the findings don't list the restaurants' names, it does provide the public with a breakdown of the worst and best cities in terms of health expectations. To find out how your city ranked,


Austin, Texas: 58 violations in 30 restaurants

Boston: 63 violations in 30 restaurants

Milwaukee: 27 violations in 20 restaurants

Colorado Springs, Colo.: 46 violations in 30 restaurants

Kansas City, Mo.: 41 violations in 30 restaurants

Pittsburgh: 40 violations in 30 restaurants

Denver: 35 violations in 30 restaurants

Las Vegas: 30 violations in 25 restaurants

Washington, D.C.: 27 violations in 25 restaurants

New York: 32 violations in 30 restaurants

Atlanta: 19 violations in 20 restaurants

Portland: 25 violations in 27 restaurants

Baltimore: 14 violations in 14 restaurants

Minneapolis, Minn.: 31 violations in 29 restaurants

Chicago: 22 violations in 30 restaurants

St. Louis: 17 violations in 27 restaurants

Seattle: 16 violations in 30 restaurants

Philadelphia: 16 violations in 23 restaurants

San Francisco: 15 violations in 30 restaurants

Tucson, Ariz.: 14 violations in 29 restaurants


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