For years, restaurateurs have been complaining about the steep fines issued by the Department of Health for seemingly trivial violations. Now, the Post reports that the majority of violations — around 65 percent — are unrelated to food quality. According to statistics obtained by the paper, about 12 percent of the fines issued last year were for structural issues and equipment maintenance, and another 12 percent of the fines were issued for things like failure to vermin-proof kitchen facilities. About 30 percent of the fines were listed under "all others." Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, explains: "Many of them are non-food related — dimly lit light bulbs, not having the proper documentation to show that a product has no trans fats in it."
The DOH insists that all of the violations are meant to protect diners. Rigie and his team are now trying to get the City Council to pass legislation that would address these fines. The Post notes that several city agencies, including the DOH, are looking at which violations could be downgraded to verbal warnings.
· 'Fine' Dining Outrage [NYP]
· All Coverage of The Department of Health [~ENY~]