Even one of Sacramento’s premier restaurant owners Biba Caggiano is a little nervous about the new placards.
"Well honestly it is a little frightening but it is a welcome thing. You cannot make mistakes."
The health regulations are the same, what’s changed is the way the inspection reports are displayed. A green placard means the business passed inspection, yellow means there were infractions that have been corrected and red means the business failed and is now closed.
Biba’s gets a green placard after health inspector Sonia Lee examines the restaurant’s kitchen. Val Siebal who head’s the county’s Environmental Management Department says now it’ll be easier for customers to see that clean bill of health.
"We chose this method because it’s even more simple than the grading system, the A,B,C, that you might see in some of the other counties. Immediately you’ll be able to tell whether or not the restaurant has a green, a yellow or a red posted in its window."
But Johnnise Downs with the California Restaurant Association says some restaurant owners worry the yellow placard will scare customers away.
"We do still have concerns with the yellow placard because if you’re basing it on a stop light system yellow indicates proceed with caution and that’s really not what it’s supposed to mean."
Sacramento County is the first county in California to use the color coded signs. The program is modeled after Toronto’s Dinesafe system. Placards will be issued as inspections are completed so it will take about 7 months for all retail food establishments to have a placard on display.