SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Usually tucked away in the corner of a front entrance to a restaurant, you’ll find a Department of Health and Environmental Control food grade decal. It represents the score the restaurant was given based on an unannounced food inspection by DHEC officials.

“It’s a complete top to bottom look at the restaurant that someone that just dined in there could neve do, to make sure that the food is safe for people to eat and prepared in a healthy manner,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, director of DHEC.

The inspection consists of looking at details like the refrigerator temperature or if the dishwasher works properly. But also, officials look into employees, and if they’re practicing proper hygiene as well.

Now DHEC wants customers to understand what the evaluation means, and why they should care. Every decal will soon be accompanied by a QR code, meant for diners to scan and read all about the restaurants’ cleanliness.

“That really gives you access to a full history of that restaurant and from a safety standpoint,” said Dr. Simmer. “And you can make good decisions about where your family should go out to eat.”

The letter grade each restaurant earns is based on a numerical score of the inspection, but also the facility’s past compliance history. 

“We try to inspect every restaurant at least once a year and then if they have problems we’ll go sooner than that,” said Dr. Simmer.

DHEC said they conduct evaluations at more than 22,000 retail food establishments in the state. They said their goal is to have the new QR code letter grades placed at each permitted establishment within this next year.