After the New York Post dropped a bombshell about abuses in the New York City Department of Health, The Daily Meal reached out to a few local chefs for their opinions on how inspections operate. Andy Ricker, among others, accused the Department of Health of “incentivizing” bad inspections.
“I don’t have any beef with the letter grade system, I don’t have any beef with inspectors showing up whenever they show up,” he told them. “What I do have beef with is them attaching a monetary fine to a violation because all that does is incentivize the people who work for the DOH to fine people, to find problems. They look for problems, they manufacture problems, they will go for the jugular because this generates a huge amount of money for the city and that’s why it’s not going to change.”
The restaurant industry agrees with the Pok Pok chef: just days after the Post’s report, 40 Bronx restaurants filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking damages of $150 million and accusing the department of levying excessive fines for profit. Anita Lo of Annisa also found inspection practices to be dubious, saying “Am I really making someone sick because, like, the hand sink is there, or the hand sink is over there? Is that really that important?”
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