Two weeks ago, London Free Press reporter Jonathan Sher ran a piece noting that local health types had promised a public disclosure system similar to Toronto’s red, yellow, green 16 months ago. The health unit had gotten busy and key personnel had departed, all reasonable explanations.
On Feb 11/10, Sher ran another piece, which disclosed that London diners unknowingly ate at places last year where inspectors found horrors from flies to feces.
Health inspectors shut down seven restaurants last year in London for stomach-turning reasons including:
* Egg noodles bound for diners were picked at first by flies that descended on an open container on a kitchen floor.
* A ventilation hood dripped grease on the food beneath.
* A restaurant with no hot water still made food — just with no place for kitchen staff to wash their hands.
* Mouse-like feces found on plates, shelves, behind the stove, on kitchen floors and behind a walk-in freezer.
* Uncovered food found on a food-encrusted floor in a walk-in fridge.
* Rags dirty from raw and cooked foods left on cutting boards.
* A restaurant with many health violations, even though a staffer had just completed the health unit’s food handling course.
If this were Toronto, red signs would have warned diners the places had been closed for something more serious than a holiday or renovation.
I told Sher there’s no doubt signs and other methods of public disclosure drive restaurants to be more careful, and that,
"They up their game . . . they don’t want the publicity.”
Today, The Middlesex-London Health Unit has launched a new, online resource for information on city restaurants.
Amazing how fast these things move with a little publicity.