Canadian health unit putting inspection information online

If my friend Jim goes out for a celebratory meal, he’ll soon be able to check on a restaurant in Owen Sound (that’s in Ontario, Canada) to make sure it complies with health regulations.

green-pencilBeginning on Jan. 1, the Grey Bruce Health Unit will be including on its website a public disclosure system for food premises the health unit inspects. The system, called Check It, will allow members of the public to check the health regulation compliance of all food premises in Grey-Bruce, including restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries and chip wagons.

“It is very common practice in today’s world that people want to know where they are going, what the inspection results have been for a premises,” said Angela Newman, program manager, food safety, with the Grey Bruce Health Unit. “That is why this process was put in place from the province’s perspective a couple of years ago.”

Currently, if the public wants an inspection report of one of the approximately 1,600 food premises in Grey-Bruce, they would phone the health unit, which would then provide the information.

“What we are doing now is we are just going to make it a little bit more of a simple process for the general public to access that information, so it will be available on our website,” said Newman. “They will go to our Grey Bruce Health Unit website and there will be a link there and it will lead them to the food disclosure webpage.”

Newman said the program can be benefit to business owners.

“For folks that are doing a really great job, this is a way of saying, ‘Hey have a look. Have a look at my inspection reports. I am doing a great job and I am getting a good inspection report,'” said Newman. “It really helps those businesses get that kind of good publicity that they deserve.”

Newman said the program will also potentially motivate some businesses to clean up their acts.