Restaurant inspections lagging but mouth-shaped urinals removed

The public health department in Hamilton, Ontario (that’s in Canada) is failing to properly monitor Hamilton’s restaurants.

But a Hamilton restaurant with mouth-shaped urinals in the men’s room is attracting attention (OK, not from public health inspectors).

The Hamilton Spectator reports that an audit presented to city council yesterday shows the city isn’t meeting provincial standards for food safety inspections.

It should have performed 4,700 routine inspections last year, but missed that target by 1,200.

The audit also found restaurants and food services with repeat problems weren’t consistently penalized. Out of 450 establishments with multiple infractions, only six were ticketed in 2009.

Ann Pekaruk, the city’s director of audit services, said her department couldn’t find an adequate reason why the inspections weren’t completed.

But there is one Hamilton restaurant that has attracted attention.

After eight months of refusing to give in to pressure from women’s rights groups, politicians and threats of boycotts, the National Post reports a Hamilton restaurant has agreed to take down the controversial mouth-shaped urinals in its men’s restroom.

The Honest Lawyer in Hamilton bought the urinals, which have big, glossy red lips, in Europe and installed them in the restroom three years ago, said Renee Roth, the restaurant’s operations manager and partner, but it didn’t get any negative attention until recently.

“The people started saying it was misogynist, sexist and hurtful. That’s not what we meant for it,” Ms. Roth says. “I saw it as a simple novelty. A decoration in my bathroom. But we didn’t want to confuse people to think we support the things the activists were accusing us of.”