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Letters, not stars

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Shot of a young chef decorating meal in the kitchen

Nearly everybody understands what a letter grade means — a visual symbol immediately communicating a rating.

Now, under a proposal being cooked up by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, food establishments would be required to publicly post grades from inspections.

At the moment, open display of classifications A, B or C is voluntary.

Mandating the exhibition of placards makes sense. Consumers should know the health status of an eatery before deciding whether to dine there.

Likewise, why would restaurants consider the idea half-baked? Prominently showcasing a good letter designation tells diners the spot is clean and well maintained, plus provides incentives to strive for excellence.

Using SASpeakUp, the city is conducting an open survey on the proposal through October.

The measure could go to City Council soon afterward. If approved, an educational period for businesses regarding the marks would follow, likely tied to surprise inspections. Enforcement is still to be determined.

Restaurants rated by Michelin have their stars; Alamo City eateries could have their letters.

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