Thursday marks the first anniversary of New York's letter grading system for restaurants' health inspection. Although still in its infancy, the system has gained popularity among diners, who now expect eateries to boast an A rating, something 57% of inspected restaurants earned in the first six months of the program. While the program effectively increases cleanliness, it also hikes up restaurant-incured fines. In 2010, before the grade system was implemented, the Health Department collected $32.8 million in fines; that number shot up to an estimated $44 million in fiscal 2011.
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