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Food Inspection Grading System

The Maricopa County Environmental Services department (MCESD) has implemented a voluntary grading system starting on October 14, 2011. This voluntary grading system is now used to provide an “at a glance” indication of how each food establishment performs as a result of their required, unscheduled food safety inspection.

MCESD understands that the public and food establishments in general share our concern for food safety. This voluntary program is designed to grade the food establishments in terms of food safety requirements and acknowledge those that do a good job.

Please note that participation in the Grading System is voluntary per inspection visit. Whenever you find “NP” on an inspection report it only means that the establishment chose not to receive a grade for that specific visit but the inspection was still conducted.

Below is a chart explaining how grades are allocated as part of this food inspection grading system:

Priority violations are directly related to foodborne illness

e.g. – Lack of adequate hand washing
"Priority item (P)" means a provision in Maricopa County Environmental Health Code whose application contributes directly to the elimination, prevention or reduction to an acceptable level, hazards associated with foodborne illness or injury and there is no other provision that more directly controls the hazard.

Priority foundation items are the building blocks which are the control for priority violations

e.g.- Lack of Soap
"Priority foundation item (Pf)" means a provision in the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code whose application supports, facilitates or enables one or more PRIORITY ITEMS.

Core items are good sanitation practices that are not directly related to foodborne illness or causal factors of foodborne illness.

e.g. Leaky pipe under the hand wash sink
"Core item (C)" means a provision in the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code that is not designated as a PRIORITY ITEM or a PRIORITY FOUNDATION ITEM.
Violation spreadsheet for the 2009 FDA Food Code