How clean is your kitchen? If a health inspector came to inspect it, would you get a passing grade? Los Angeles restaurants have had to display letter grades for years, while New York restaurants started getting public grades earlier this year. So Henry Alford, a writer for the New York Times, decided to have a restaurant inspector grade his kitchen. He found out that his cooking space just wasn’t up to health code — even after he spent many hours cleaning it! (via Good Food)

Henry’s entertaining article reveals the details restaurant inspectors look at — from the temperature of the refrigerator to the quality of the cutting board. As you may have expected, many of the health violations that Henry’s kitchen gets cited for are not really relevant to home kitchens. As far as I know, none of my friends wear a hair net in their kitchen, for example. And while cat owners may understand how their pets can spread health risks in a commercial kitchen, few are likely to kick their feline pets out of their homes — though some may be convinced to keep the cats off kitchen counters.

At the end of the article, Henry does provide a short list of health basics for the home kitchen — but I have to say I found myself quibbling with a tip on this list. Why? It encourages unnecessary disposable waste!

I mean, I can understand the logic of the very first tip: “Make sure to clear the sink of dishes and pans before washing hands, and use different towels to dry hands and cookware.” That, I can certainly do. And certainly, I understand that it’s a good idea to keep dish towels clean and dry, since “Damp dish towels can breed bacteria.” But I can’t say I understand the reasoning of having “liquid soap and paper towels in your bathroom for hand-washing.” What’s wrong with bar soap and a good old fashioned clean organic cotton towel?

I’m guessing many MNN readers similarly shun disposable towels — and will also quibble with the use and promotion of antibacterial products and bleach in the article. What do you think of the restaurant inspector’s criteria — and how many of them will you be adopting for your own home?

Is your kitchen health inspection-ready?
Restaurants in Los Angeles and New York City get letter grades from their health departments. How does your own home kitchen score?