According to a recent study published in the academic journal Management Science, consumers are willing to disregard a restaurant’s poor health record if they believe the products and services are “authentic.” Inspiration for the study reportedly came from Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles in the 1980s that stored ducks by hanging them from their necks at room temperature. When the health department cited these places for health code violations, customers objected, saying that the method of cooking and storing ducks had been practiced for more than 4,000 years. Researchers wondered whether hygiene or authenticity is more significant to consumers when the two are at odds with one another, so they analyzed customer reviews of more than 9,700 restaurants in Los Angeles County posted online and the businesses’ health inspection reports. Authenticity can be very difficult to gauge, but to do so, the researchers gave scores based on certain keywords used in reviews. In comparing this score with the number of stars customers rated a restaurant and its health grade, the authors found that unhygienic but authentic restaurants were valued similarly to their hygienic counterparts. Consumers may have said some negative things about restaurants with low health grades, but they usually overlooked the hygiene issues when they thought authenticity was high.