Restaurant inspection cards: green and clean in Durham region

Restaurant disclosure systems, like letter grades in L.A. or coloured cards in Toronto, communicate restaurant inspection results to patrons. This week Durham Region in Ontario launched DineSafe, a food safety inspection disclosure program that uses coloured cards to communicate inspection scores. Green, yellow or red cards must be posted at food establishments, similar to the disclosure system in Toronto.

According to, during the first day 30 restaurants were inspected, with only two receiving yellow cards, and the remainder receiving green cards. 

On Monday March 2, the first round of inspections under DineSafe resulted in two yellow cards, for the Akashia Japanese and Korean restaurant on Kingston Road West in Ajax and Wie Geht’s Amigo on King Avenue East in Newcastle.

Ken Gorman, director of environmental health for Durham, said the Ajax restaurant received a yellow because of the level of cleanliness of food contact surfaces, food storage issues which could result in possible contamination and temperature abuse. The Newcastle restaurant’s citations included food not being stored at the proper temperature, lack of paper towels and soap at the food and hand sink areas and sanitation problems with the floor, walls and equipment.

Both restaurants have been re-inspected and received green cards.

Gorman indicated he expects about 80 per cent of establishments will earn a green this year, and things are going well with the new program. He continued,

"Some people are very excited … one got their green sign and they were cheering and clapping.”

In Durham Region the frequency of restaurant inspection is based on risk. High risk establishments are inspected three times per year, moderate risk twice a year, and low risk once a year. Overall inspection scores determine the colour of the sign issued to an establishment, green indicating a pass, yellow indicating substantial incompliance with provincial rules, and red indicating establishment closure.