Seattle resident Sarah Schaht is suing Central District restaurant Ambassel Ethiopian after she contracted a debilitating E coli bacteria infection. Schaht is now crusading for a simpler grading system and to make public the grades King County health officials assign restaurants based on their latest health inspection.
As KIRO reports, “Schaht chose the Ethiopian restaurant because customers on Yelp gave it nearly four stars. What she didn’t know was the restaurant had failed six health inspections since 2010 and had one of the worst inspection scores of any Seattle restaurant last year.” Workers were flagged for not washing their hands. Insects and rodents were spotted in the restaurant, and raw meat was being prepared on the same surfaces as cooked food. Health officials shut down Ambassel, though the owners have reopened as Laco Melza, which doesn’t yet have any Yelp reviews.
As a result of Schaht’s efforts, Seattle and King County public health officials are asking for input on their inspection system, which you can provide online.
More from KIRO:
Schaht has started a petition to pressure King County health officials to adopt a simple letter grade system, in which restaurants are required to post an A, B, C or F grade in their front window so diners know how the establishment performed on its latest inspection. Cities in nine states have letter grade requirements, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. After going to the letter grade system in 2010, New York City’s Department of Health reported a 14 percent decline in salmonella cases in the first 18 months.
In L.A. County there’s been a 20 percent drop in the number of people hospitalized with food-related illnesses.