Sapporo Grill was closed yesterday due accumulating 4 or more yellow placards in a two year period, according to the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department (commonly known as the health department). It is expected to reopen today.
When the county comes out to inspect a restaurant, they can give a green, yellow or red placard. A green card means the level of compliance was "acceptable." A yellow placard means that violations were observed that required immediate correction and a follow-up inspection that will be conducted within 24 to 72 hours. A red placard is given for two reasons. The first is that there is an imminent danger to public health or safety. Examples of this would be cockroaches, rats, a lack of hot water or sewage issues. The second reason a red placard is given is as a punishment for multiple and repeated lessor violations, generally meaning four or more yellow or red placards in the last 24 months.
Sapporo Grill was closed yesterday due to the second reason - multiple, lessor violations. The inspector did not find any immediate danger to public health or safety such as rats or cockroaches at their most recent inspection in mid May, but at the order of an administrative judge, they were ordered closed for one day for receiving multiple yellow placards.
For those who think this is a harsh punishment for a restaurant, the county says they provide multiple chances for a restaurant to avoid this fate. After a yellow placard is issued, restaurants are offered classes on food safety, training for their entire staff and even meetings with the county to discuss specific steps that can be taken to correct food safety issues. The level of training they receive depends on how many violations they've received.
When contacted for comment yesterday, the woman speaking for Sapporo Grill said only that the restaurant was closed for cleaning and would be reopen tomorrow. (A sign on their door yesterday said they were closed for a private event.)
If you've read the county's online reports, almost all restaurants have some sort of violation. (BTW: Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Don't read the reports for your favorite restaurant unless you really want to know.) Last year, even La Bonne Soupe Cafe, then run by Daniel Pont, was given a red placard for a cockroach infestation. It happens to even the most meticulous and careful chefs. Click here to search the county's food inspection reports.
The County says that any restaurant open for business and selling food has passed inspection. Despite their one day closure yesterday, I plan to continue eating at Sapporo Grill.
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