Originally published Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 05:55a.m.

It’s tough to earn and tough to hang on to. This year, the Yavapai County Golden Plate Awards went to 241 – 26 more than last year – food establishments around the county, acknowledging no citations for critical food handling violation throughout 2017.

The criteria are difficult to meet, and the county counts its awards in consecutive years. A facility, therefore, may have earned a Golden Plate award for 11 years in a row, not qualify last year, earn it back this year, and start over with one award.

This makes those places with consecutive years numbering more than five special. “It’s not easy to get this award,” said Cecil Newell, public health protection section manager, environmental health, preparedness and response for Yavapai County Community Health Service.

To earn the award, food establishments must operate the entire year without a cited critical food handling violation, have an approved and implemented food safety plan, and have a person in charge with an accepted and current manager-level food safety certificate.

The Health Service uses two categories, moderate with “cook-and-serve” and simpler menus, and complex with more involved preparation and complex menu items.

Bradshaw Mountain Middle School in the Humboldt Unified School District has earned the Golden Plate for 11 consecutive years of the 13-year program. Bradshaw Mountain High School has nine Golden Plates, although only eight are consecutive. Humboldt Elementary has seven, with the last three years in a row.

In Prescott, Prescott Head Start has seven; and Taylor Hicks Elementary School has six. Taco Bell #19980 has 13 years of consecutive Golden Plates; Granite Hills Retreat has 12 years; Starbucks #10799 has 10; and In-N-Out Burger #184 has eight consecutive years.

Territorial Elementary School in Chino Valley earned Golden Plates for the last 12 years, as did Del Rio Elementary School; Heritage Middle School earned seven. Mayer High School earned awards five years in a row.

Click here to see a complete list of other schools and restaurants in Yavapai County that were recognized in the 2017 Golden Plate Awards.

Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at stone@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.