New York City health officials are introducing a controversial new ABC grading system to rate the cleanliness of the city’s more than 24,000 restaurants.

New York restaurants are required to post the 8-by-10 inch placards to display ratings that were previously available only at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website.

Health officials hope that the new system will reduce the number of food-borne illness related to eating out. In New York City, around 11,000 people go to hospitals every year from eating at restaurants and the number is rising according to the health department.

Grading begins in July and the placards are expected to be posted by A restaurants before the inspection on Wednesday. Restaurants with an A need to get fewer than 14 violations points. Between 14 and 27 points will be a B, and more than 27 will be a C.

Restaurants that receive B or C will automatically be inspected against at a later date. Rating for B’s and C’s may not be posted until late August. Health officials say it will take a little more than a year to grade all of the city's existing restaurants.

“This is the biggest change we’ve implemented in many years,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the health department. He added that public pressure will “force restaurants to be diligent about good food-safety practices.”

For the $3.2 million effort, the health department added 23 inspectors to its 157 and upgraded their wireless hand-held computer device used for rating restaurants.

Staring Wednesday, information related to restaurant inspections will be available at