Barrie, I miss you.
The Canadian town, north of Toronto, was home to my aunt and uncle, who I enjoyed hanging out with (they let me sleep with whoever my girlfriend was).
At the beginning of the month, green placards began popping up in the windows of restaurants, convenience stores and other places where food is served, sold or prepared as part of the Inspection Connection initiative launched late in 2014 by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
With roughly 20 food inspectors responsible for looking into the 3,900 establishments, which include 1,100 restaurants, it will take a bit of time to get the new signs up throughout the region, said Steven Rebellato, director of health protection services for the health unit, but he is hopeful the distribution will be complete in the next month or so.
Inspection of food establishments is nothing new for the health unit, but promoting the results both through a pass or fail placard and an all-encompassing website (inspectionconnection.ca) is.
“Visibility is the change,” Rebellato said. “Most health units have this type of program in place.”
Visitors to food establishments in the City of Toronto or York Region will be familiar with the placards. Toronto’s, which features a green (pass), yellow (conditional pass) or red (closure) card, is one of the oldest in the province, spanning some 13 years.
Simcoe-Muskoka’s program only features a pass or close option.
“There are only two signs, which is consistent with our approach since we started,” Rebellato said.
The decision to only have the two signs came from consultation with the operators of the establishments as well.
“If you put a yellow in my door, you might as well put a red, because (patrons) don’t know what that means,” Rebellato said, using an anecdote from a restaurateur on King Street West in Toronto, where there are dozens of restaurants in direct competition.
“We didn’t want to confuse the public.”
Worst words a bureaucrat can say.