NYC Eateries Begin Posting Health Inspection Grades
A Queens deli apparently took top honors as the cleanest place to dine in the Big Apple, according to a new letter grading system put into place Wednesday by the Department of Health.

Health officials began its new inspections yesterday and awarded the first 'A' to Sparks Deli in Long Island City.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley heralded the luncheonette as a model for the city's 24,000 other eating establishments.

"Whether it's a neighborhood deli or a pricey dinner house, any food establishment can prepare food safely," he said. "Sparks has set an example."

The new initiative requires all eateries in the city to post A, B, or C letter grades near entrances following sanitary inspections. The new system also focuses City resources on those that pose the greatest risk to public health by inspecting them more often.

In addition, the heath department debuted a new restaurant inspection site where people can search restaurants both by name and by borough, cuisine and score.

"Most restaurants maintain good conditions, but lapses in food safety cause a lot of preventable illness in New York City," said Commissioner Farley. "Food-borne illness prompts thousands of hospital visits each year, and it costs many New Yorkers valuable days of work or school. By putting information about inspection results on public display, we give diners the information they want while also encouraging restaurants to improve their food preparation practices. This will be good for the health of New Yorkers and - as restaurant operators improve their practices - good for the restaurant industry too."

To see how your favorite restaurant stacked up, click here.