Pretty soon Los Angeles won't be the only major city to grade its restaurants like Nathaniel Hawthorne characters. On Tuesday, The New York City Board of Health voted to begin giving letter grades rating cleanliness to the city's more than 24,000 restaurants. Starting in July, cards supplied by the city, dated and prominently posted, will give a blue A for the highest grade, a green B for a less sanitary but still passing rating, and a yellow C for a failing grade. Tuesday's vote adopted a controversial plan proposed over a year ago by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Los Angeles has given out letter grades to restaurants for over a decade, a system that has been credited with reducing the incidence of food-borne illness hospitalizations. According to a 2007 study by the LA County Health Department, 91% of people approve of the system.

Many restaurant-goers ignore the letters, although this writer once worked for an editor who refused to enter any restaurant with less than an A rating. “I think that I would prefer to eat at a restaurant with a grade A,” said NYC Mayor Bloomberg when asked about the new system. Some of us are not so fastidious, and have been known to dine quite cheerfully at Mozza and Church & State during their (very brief) stints with B ratings. Thoughts on the grading system? Comment below.

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