We admit, sometimes we do brave a questionable-looking restaurant for some of the best tacos ever, but from now on we'll just cite this New York Post study about Health Department violations.
The New York Post has looked over data from the New York City Health Department, examining fines from the past two fiscal years, and discovered that most fines are actually for breaches unrelated to food quality.
According to the Post, 65.7 percent of fines this year were issued for problems related to walls, ceilings, and equipment being "poorly maintained," whereas around 29.8 percent of this year's fines were categorized as "all others," of which few are food-related, Andrew Rigie of New York City Hospitality Alliance says.
According to Rigie, "all others" may involve dimly lit light bulbs, improper documentation, and other problems that have little to do with the actual food (although, as Grub Street notes, it can be tangentially related).
But of course, some fines do address the cleanliness and food safety of the establishment; 11.5 percent of the fines so far this year were issued to restaurants "being inadequately vermin-proof," the Post reports. This year, 14 percent of the fines were for sanitary conditions (mice sightings, dirty/greasy surfaces), while finding mice in the food area racked up 7.2 percent of the fines this year.