SANTA CLARA (KCBS) – Santa Clara County is out with its list of the cities with the most restaurant food safety violations, as the county prepares to launch a restaurant “grading system” in 2014.

What goes on behind the scenes at Silicon Valley restaurants is monitored by the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health, whose inspectors are on the lookout for food safety violations.

“One of the leading causes of foodborne illness is the inability to keep things hot, above 135 degrees, or keep things cold, below 41 degrees,” said Heather Forshey with the Department of Environmental Health.

The city with the most major violations per restaurant was Santa Clara, while Palo Alto was at the bottom of that list, that according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s analysis of county records.

Forshey said a high level of restaurant turnover could be one of the factors.

“And when you have new restaurant operators, you don’t have that same level of knowledge and education in food safety and sanitation,” she said.

Santa Clara County officials are working on a restaurant grading system, which they hope to unveil sometime in 2014. The placard system would be color-coded and list the grades of restaurants in the window.

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