Let’s clean up this town

Where the Food is Sickening
This month’s Metrogrades report card reveals the cities where you don’t want to eat out

You may tend to blame an illness on someone’s errant sneeze or contaminated handshake.

But it could have been something you ate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 250 different food-related maladies out there waiting to drop down your gullet.

But if you live in Baltimore, our top-ranked city, your stomach can rest easy. Baltimore has managed to avoid major outbreaks of foodborne diseases despite its obsession with seafood–a common culprit for illness. Citizens of last-place Lubbock, however, should order their Texas steaks well done–the city has seen more foodborne-illness outbreaks per capita than any other on our list.

We arrived at our ratings by looking at data compiled by the Community Health Status Indicator Project to determine outbreaks of E. coli–, salmonella-, and shigella-related infections, three of the most common foodborne bugs. Then we checked the CDC’s Wonder database to see how many people died from tainted food. Finally, we found out which states have adopted the current version of the FDA’s uniform Food Code, which contains the most up-to-date rules for keeping restaurant kitchens clean.


1. Baltimore, MD A+

2. St. Louis, MO A+

3. Richmond, VA A+

4. Pittsburgh, PA A+

5. Tacoma, WA A

6. Virginia Beach, VA A

7. Chesapeake, VA A

8. Plano, TX A-

 9. Arlington, TX B+

10. Fort Worth, TX B+

11. St. Petersburg, FL B+

12. Riverside, CA B+

13. Fort Wayne, IN B

14. Lexington, KY B

15. Las Vegas, NV B

16. Dallas, TX B-

17. Garland, TX B-

18. Colorado Springs, CO B-

19. Boise, ID B-

20. Jersey City, NJ B-

21. Washington, DC B-

22. Detroit, MI B-

23. Indianapolis, IN B-

24. Des Moines, IA B-

25. Norfolk, VA B-


26. Birmingham, AL C+

27. Wichita, KS C+

28. Raleigh, NC C+

29. Sacramento, CA C+

30. Louisville, KY C+

31. Greensboro, NC C+

32. Durham, NC C+

33. Laredo, TX C+

34. Tulsa, OK C+

35. Shreveport, LA C+

36. Toledo, OH C+

37. New Orleans, LA C

38. Honolulu, HI C

39. Fresno, CA C

40. Columbus, OH C

41. Anaheim, CA C

42. Akron, OH C

43. Spokane, WA C

44. Memphis, TN C

45. Miami, FL C

46. Bakersfield, CA C

47. Buffalo, NY C

48. Portland, OR C

49. Houston, TX C

50. Charlotte, NC C

51. Mesa, AZ C-

52. Phoenix, AZ C-

53. Scottsdale, AZ C-

54. Seattle, WA C-

55. Grand Rapids, MI C-

56. Kansas City, MO C-

57. Nashville, TN C-

58. Cincinnati, OH C-

59. Little Rock, AR C-

60. San Antonio, TX C-

61. Long Beach, CA C-

62. Los Angeles, CA C-

63. Madison, WI C-

64. New York, NY C-

65. Newark, NJ C-

66. Orlando, FL C-

67. Aurora, CO C-

68. Atlanta, GA C-

 69. Milwaukee, WI D+

70. Philadelphia, PA D+

71. Providence, RI D+

72. El Paso, TX D+

73. Anchorage, AK D+

74. Tampa, FL D+

75. St. Paul, MN D+

76. Minneapolis, MN D+

77. Modesto, CA D+

78. Albuquerque, NM D+

79. Omaha, NE D+

80. Oklahoma City, OK D+

81. Montgomery, AL D+

82. Austin, TX D

83. Baton Rouge, LA D

84. San Diego, CA D

85. Denver, CO D

86. Chicago, IL D

87. Rochester, NY D

88. Stockton, CA D

89. San Jose, CA D

90. Salt Lake City, UT D

91. Yonkers, NY D

92. Jacksonville, FL D

93. Lincoln, NE D

94. Fremont, CA D-

95. Oakland, CA D-

96. Tucson, AZ D-

97. Cleveland, OH D-

 98. Corpus Christi, TX F

99. San Francisco, CA F

100. Boston, MA F

101. Lubbock, TX F

You can check up on a restaurant by barging into the kitchen. Or go to spiesonline.net and click on "Restaurant Inspection" for a listing of state health department websites, where you will find either a direct link to city restaurant inspection reports or contact information so that you can request a report


This entry was posted in Food and drink. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Let’s clean up this town

  1. Michelle says:

    Hey, I just read your comment in my journal. Yes I have been to Petersen rock garden, and it is a very wierd place. But I love it. Still have not tried that drink yet, but I will.Misha

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