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NYC Restaurant Owners Call Grading System Inconsistent

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A restaurant grade is seen at an establishment in Chelsea - New York, NY - Jan 19, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

A restaurant grade is seen at an establishment in Chelsea. (file/credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – It’s like an old-fashioned food fight.

A day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg raved about the grading system, restaurant owners fired back Wednesday calling it inconsistent, arbitrary and adversarial.

Herb Wetanson said health department inspectors come into his restaurants – Dallas BBQ and Tony’s DiNapoli — like enemies.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

“They come in and they catch you,” he said. “They have a new system, they want to catch you. That earns money for the scity. I’ve spent $250,000 in 10 restaurants to fight the city of New York.”

The New York City Council held a hearing Wednesday to chew over the impact of giving letter grades to restaurants.

Some council members say that while they like the system, it’s still far from perfect and should be reviewed.

The New York State Restaurant Association has said the grades are punitive and a financial burden on small businesses.

Bloomberg and health officials said Tuesday the letter grades had led to increased business at the city’s 24,000 eateries.

Bloomberg pointed out overall revenues for restaurants have risen 9.3 percent – or $800 million – since the grades have been handed out.

During the system’s first full year, the city’s number of salmonella cases, a strong indicator of food poisoning, fell to a 20-year low.

Humble delis and star-powered restaurants alike receive grades of A, B or C for sanitary conditions. An eatery that repeatedly gets Cs could run the risk of being closed.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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