Health Department's Issues New Inspection Placards for Restaurants

PASADENA, Calif.—New inspection placards for public display in Pasadena’s restaurants and other permanent food facilities will be issued by the City’s Public Health Department beginning July 1, 2014.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 27, 2014 #057-14


Pasadena Public Health Dept Logo

PASADENA, Calif.—New inspection placards for public display in Pasadena’s restaurants and other permanent food facilities will be issued by the City’s Public Health Department beginning July 1, 2014.  The placards will indicate a facility’s status of Pass, Conditional Pass or Closed at the time of the inspection.

The new placards showing Pass or Conditional Pass will have numeric scores displayed that were received as part of the inspections.  Placards showing a Closed status means an inspection revealed there was an imminent health hazard that required closure or that the permit was suspended due to non-compliance.  Closed placards will indicate the reason for closure instead of a numerical score.

All placards will include a special “QR” code that can be scanned with a smart phone app for additional information about the food facility linked to a new inspection database on the City’s website.  The database is online at

Permanent food facilities that will receive the new placards include restaurants, markets, bakeries, bars, school cafeterias, commissaries and retail food processing facilities.  The businesses are required to publicly display the placards.


First New Restaurant Inspection Placard 2014
First New Restaurant Inspection Placard 2014

Initial inspections by the Health Department resulting in scores of 85 to 100 will receive a Pass placard.  Conditional Pass placards with scores of 75 to 84 means minimal code compliance was achieved and a follow-up inspection must be done.  Conditional Pass scores of 74 and below mean minimal compliance also was achieved, but violations that were found require a mandatory Permit Suspension Hearing plus a follow-up inspection.

The new placards and the public database are the most recent steps taken by the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division to improve its service to the public and increase awareness of its mission to ensure that food sold and served in the City of Pasadena is safe, wholesome, properly labeled, and produced under sanitary conditions.  The Health Department’s mandatory inspections are required per the California Health and Safety Code.

For more than 120 years, the Pasadena Public Health Department has worked to promote and protect the health of the greater Pasadena area.  For more information, visit

Health FoodInspection 2014-PASS Health Food Inspection 2014-CLOSED Health Food Inspection 2014-CONDITIONAL PASS


The purpose of Pasadena Municipal Code Chapter 8.13, which requires food establishments to post the most recent health inspection report, is to provide patrons with relevant information regarding the sanitation and safety of such businesses in the city.

Beginning July 1, 2014 the Environmental Health Division will begin posting a new inspection summary report that employs a PASS/CONDITIONAL PASS/CLOSED Placard as a simple, visible indicator that the public can use to determine the current standing of a food facility in conforming to the California Retail Food Code.

The summary report will be based on the score obtained at the conclusion of a routine inspection or follow-up inspection.  This score is determined by the number of violations observed during the inspection. Each food facility inspection begins with 100 points. The point value assigned to each violation is based on the level of food safety risk. Points are deducted from the initial 100 points.

One of the following placards will be issued and posted at the conclusion of the inspection: 


85 to 100 points

An acceptable level of compliance was achieved with any noted major* violations corrected at time of inspection.


75 to 84 points

Minimally acceptable compliance was achieved with any noted major* violations corrected at time of inspection. A follow-up inspection will be conducted to ensure continued compliance.

Below 75 points

Poor food handling practices and overall food facility maintenance and sanitation is lacking. A Permit Suspension Hearing will be scheduled. A follow-up inspection will be conducted to verify compliance or the permit may be suspended.


Permit Suspension/ Imminent Health Hazard*

The facility was ordered closed as a result of:

  • Permit Suspension due to an imminent health hazard, include but are not limited to:
  • Vermin
  • Sewage overflow
  • No water or hot water
  • Lack of power
  • No operable bathrooms
  • Fire or other disaster
  • Permit Suspension due to non-compliance
  • Operating without a Health Permit

If a major violation cannot be corrected during the inspection, a closure of the facility may be necessary.

Moving from a “Conditional Pass” to a “Pass” Placard 

If a food facility is issued a CONDITIONAL PASS placard during a routine inspection, a follow-up will be scheduled within five (5) working days of the initial inspection, or as otherwise arranged with the facility operator, to assure that the violations have been corrected.

For facilities that score below 75, a Permit Suspension Hearing will be scheduled to determine if the permit should be suspended or revoked pursuant to California Retail Food Code Section 114405.

If, after a follow-up inspection of the food facility, the score is not ninety points or higher, a Permit Suspension or Revocation Hearing shall be scheduled pursuant to California Retail Food Code Section 114405.

Food facilities that score 90 or higher will be issued a PASS placard.

Permit Suspension Hearings 

If a Permit Suspension Hearing is scheduled for any of the following reasons, a fee in the amount of $150.00 will be assessed and must be paid at the time of the scheduled hearing:

  • Facility scored below 75 or repeat violations
  • Permit suspended due to an imminent health hazard
  • Operating without a health permit

Posting of the Placard

The placard must be posted so that it is conspicuous to the general public from the time it is issued until the time it is replaced with another placard. 

  • On the front door or in the front window within five feet of the front door;
  • In a display case mounted on the outside front wall within five feet of the front door;
  • If no windows or display box exists, or if the windows are heavily tinted: place inside the facility, in a visible location, within five feet of the front door, or posted at the service counter; or
  • Other location approved by the Environmental Health Specialist.

Keeping the Placard Safe 

The food facility owner is responsible for keeping the placard in the approved location. If the owner finds the placard is missing or altered, it is his/her responsibility to immediately call the Environmental Health Division at (626)744-6004 and request a new placard.

Proper Posting 

The placard is not considered properly posted when:

  • It is not in the location approved by the Environmental Health Specialist.
  • The placard is missing and the operator has not called for a replacement.
  • The placard is defaced, marred, camouflaged, hidden or removed.

Fines and Penalties 

When an Environmental Health Specialist documents a failure to properly post a placard, an administrative citation may be issued.



 Q.   Which food facilities will be placarded?

A.    All permanent retail food facilities will be required to post the placard. Such as restaurants, food market retail, retail food processing locations, licensed health care facilities, commissaries, and school cafeterias.

Q.   What is a major violation?

A.    A major violation as indicated in the California Retail Food Code Section 113725 (a)(2) are risk factors violations that have been identified to contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks.  A major violation poses an imminent health hazard that warrants immediate correction and may require closure of the food facility. These include:

  1. Improper employee hygiene and handwashing
  2. Contaminated food items
  3. Improper sanitizing procedures
  4. Improper food temperatures
  5. Food from unapproved sources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also indicate the following as major violations: adulterated food, prohibited food offered to highly susceptible populations, lack of water, lack of hot water, sewage, vermin, non-compliance with an approved variance, specialized processes and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan.

Q.   What is a minor violation? 

A.    A minor violation does not pose an imminent health hazard, but does warrant correction.

Q.   What is a Good Retail Practice? 

A.    These are low risk violations that control basic operational and sanitation conditions within a food facility, and if not corrected, they could be contributing factors to foodborne illness by introducing hazards (biological, chemical,  and physical), into the end product, either directly or indirectly.

Q.   What are the point values for Critical Risk Factor (major or minor) and Good Retail Practice Violations? 

A.    Major Critical Risk Factor Violation= 4 pts

        Minor Critical Risk Factor Violation = 2 pts

        Good Retail Practice Violation = 1 pt

Q.   Is it true that a food facility owner is required to show the results of the last routine inspection if a customer requests to see it? 

A.    Yes, the California Retail Food Code Section 13725.1 states that a copy of the most recent routine inspection report shall be maintained at the food facility and made available upon request.



William H. Boyer, Pasadena Public Information Officer, City Manager’s Office, (626) 744-4755,

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