It’s Time To Bring NYC Letter Grade Restaurant Inspection Process To Foodservice Fleets

letter grades
Opinion article contributed by Michael Leibman, President at ReeferTek USA, Corp

The Health Department inspects about 24,000 restaurants a year to monitor compliance with City and State food safety regulations. Since July 2010, the Health Department has required restaurants to post letter grades showing sanitary inspection results.

Michael Leibman, President, ReeferTek USA

I think it’s time that the same process for NYC Letter Grade Restaurant Inspection goes into the vehicles that our foodservice industry put on the street every day. Whether it’s a catering company with a commissary or a seafood purveyor, it makes no sense to inspect what may already be tainted.

Look as a literal alumni of the Moscow “Gulag”, the last thing we are calling for is a long-convoluted licensing process to inspect vehicles. But I think that you would agree that we all need to take responsibility for the handling of food that we serve to Metro New York’s dining patrons.

A restaurant’s score depends on how well it follows City of New York and State food safety requirements. Inspectors check for food handling, food temperature, personal hygiene, facility and equipment maintenance and vermin control.

I simply want to offer my expertise and experience as a go to for those who want to do the right thing.  Call me, bring over your vehicle no matter where you bought it, there will be no sales pitch. I simply want our team to inspect your vehicle and make suggestions to you regarding either best practices or some new coatings that we have that can help you keep surfaces clean and product at the right temperatures.

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For the past 25 years, I’ve worked closely with foodservice professionals to handle their refrigerated vans conversion. Business is healthy but I am concerned that there is a disconnect between the City’s grading efforts and the day to day efficiency of the marketplace.

As the President of ReeferTek USA I have established a robust network of refrigerated OEM approved, drop ship van conversion facilities. We have distribution channels across the United States and Canada. I have negotiated deals with the largest names in the automotive industry to become an authorized OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) outfitter. I have established a proprietary process for streamlining the refrigerated van conversion process. Our facilities enable us to manage all aspects of the design, fabrication, customization, installation, and maintenance process. With that has come the ability to see some of the best ideas out there to bring to “my home” New York City.

One area of food protection and food safety that often gets overlooked is delivery. Food should always be stored properly even when being delivered. All the same protections should be in place such as holding temperature, separating raw from ready-to-eat foods, and using containers that protect the food from insects or rodents.

If it’s supposed to be cold, verify it’s at 41 degrees Fahrenheit. If the food being delivered isn’t at the right temperature, don’t deliver it. There is no way of knowing how long it was sitting in the danger zone. We can help you with this.

The FDA was asked 7 years ago to come up with stricter safety guidelines for food delivery trucks. It still hasn’t happened. The spirit of the Letter Grade program needs to find its way onto the agendas of local food safety professionals, suppliers, chefs, managers and consumers should be doing everything they can to make sure food is always handled safely, even during delivery.

Call me at 855-534-2626 or drop me a line with your questions about NYC Letter Grade Restaurant Inspection, reefertekusa@gmail.com


Michael Leibman is the President at ReeferTek USA, Corp. As a successful entrepreneur with more than 25 year of experience in refrigerated vans conversion, Michael has led sales, service, managing teams and ensured the highest quality products. As the President of ReeferTek USA he has established a robust network of refrigerated OEM approved, drop ship van conversion facilities, with distribution channels across the U.S. and Canada.