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OUR VIEW: Important for restaurant scores to be accessible

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A great thing has happened in South Dakota, and one that is benefitting all.

Of course, that all depends upon the point of view of the reader, but we understand that some surely will disagree.

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0 Talk about it

We're talking about the state's online posting of restaurant scores. Just a few years ago, this wasn't happening, and that meant restaurant patrons had no real idea what they were getting into when they chose to dine out.

Back in 2012, the state finally began regularly posting restaurant scores online. Before that, it took great effort to find which restaurants were struggling to keep the promises they have made with their customers.

Saturday, we published our annual report card on local restaurants. Through the state's website (doh.sd.gov), we learned that generally, Mitchell restaurants are abiding by state laws that govern cleanliness and rules about food safety.

A few didn't do so well, and we reported it. One restaurant that flunked inspections was kind enough to allow us to interview its manager, and we feel that was a wise decision. We were doing the story anyway, and it's in the best interest of offending restaurants to tell their side of the story. Good for them.

And in the end, good for you, readers. Whether or not The Daily Republic continues its annual report card in the future, you now have the ability to instantly check your favorite restaurant's yearly health scores.

We felt the state took too long to finally arrive at this place, and we have said so many times. That's in the past, and things are better now, both for consumers and even the restaurants themselves.

Consumers deserve to know the eateries that fail parts of all of their health inspections. In the past, a restaurant that fails may have been shut down by the state, but with no word to past, present and future patrons. That's gross.

Too, local restaurants should be excited about this new system. The restaurants that routinely pass their inspections deserve to have their exceptional scores posted. Only those who aren't living up to our trust should be worried.

And we once again feel it important to note that just because a restaurant struggled on a report card does not necessarily mean that establishment isn't safe or isn't trying its best. Health standards are very rigid, and sometimes poor scores can be traced to very minor troubles.

Use your own judgment, and be happy the state has given you the tools to do so.

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