Restaurant health inspections aim at identifying health violations and shall reduce the risk that restaurant visitors suffer from foodborne illness. Nevertheless, regulatory authorities’ resources are limited, so an efficient mechanism that supports scheduling of health inspections is necessary.
We build upon information efficiency theory and investigate whether information extracted from online review platforms is useful to predict restaurant health violations. Furthermore, we examine how the expectation disconfirmation bias impacts classification performance. Analyzing a large sample of health inspections, corresponding online reviews and restaurant visitor data, we propose and evaluate different predictive models.
We find that classifiers specifically taking into account information from online review platforms outperform different baseline approaches. We thus show that online reviews encompass private information indicating strong information efficiency. Furthermore, we observe that the expectation disconfirmation bias has an influence on classification performance in case of restaurants with a low star rating and with a poor inspection history. An ensemble classifier can help to mitigate this influence. Thus, online review platforms contain relevant information to predict future health violations. Our results are highly relevant for regulatory authorities, restaurant visitors and restaurant owners.
Leveraging online review platforms to support public policy; Predicting restaurant health violations based on online reviews
Every year, millions of Americans get sick from foodborne illness and it is estimated half of all reported instances occur at restaurants. To protect the public, regulators are encouraged to conduct restaurant inspections and disclose reports to consumers. However, inspection reporting format is inconsistent and typically contains information unclear to most consumers who often misinterpret the inspection results. Additionally, consumers are increasingly searching for this information in a digital context. Limited research explores inspection reports as communication tools.
Using affect-as-information and ELM as theoretical frameworks, this experiment investigated how discrete emotions (e.g., disgust) conveyed through pictorial cues (i.e., emojis) influenced consumers’ processing of inspection reports. Participants, recruited from Amazon’s MTurk, were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions in a 3 (emoji: smiling vs. disgusted vs. none) x 2 (violation level: low vs. high) between-subjects design. Then, participants completed a questionnaire regarding perceptions and cognitive processing of the message.
Results revealed that, compared to text, disgusted face emoji increased risk perceptions and avoidance behavior. In terms of emotion, smiling face emoji motivated participants to feel more emotions related to sanitation. In turn, positive feelings decreased elaboration likelihood. As predicted by ELM, involvement also predicted elaboration, such that participants who were highly involved with inspection reports elaborated more than those less involved. Involvement also moderated the relationship between emoji presented and elaboration. Practical implications are also discussed.
Disgusting face, disease-ridden place?: Emoji influence on the interpretation of restaurant inspection reports
Eoghan Moloney of the Independent writes three unregistered online sushi restaurants were ordered to close by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) after it was found they were being run from a bedroom of a house in Dublin.
Koi Sushi, Nagoya Sushi and Kyoto Sushi takeaway restaurants were all registered to the same address of a house in the Santry area of Dublin and were ordered to close after the FSAI found them in breach of numerous laws around food and food safety.
Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI expressed particular concern at the conditions in which the high-risk sushi products were being stored in.
Dr Byrne said the conditions in which the Sushi restaurants were operating in “posed a grave and immediate danger” to consumer health.
“Running a food business that has not been registered and is therefore, not supervised is totally unacceptable and poses a very serious risk to consumers’ health.
“In these instances, the unregistered businesses were producing sushi without any hygiene or temperature controls. Sushi is a very high-risk product because it contains raw fish which must be kept chilled to reduce the growth of dangerous bacteria. It can also contain cooked rice, which is a ready-to-eat product that must be kept chilled.
“In these instances, the absence of a food safety management system, no monitoring of the cold chain and no evidence of traceability of raw ingredients posed a grave and immediate danger to consumer health,” Dr Byrne said.
The FSAI closure orders on the premises detail how food was being produced, processed and distributed in an unsatisfactory and unclean environment.
There was an absence of safe practice when handling raw fish and cooked rice, it says, with the enforcement order noting a lack of access to hand washing facilities in the ‘food prep’ area. There was also no access to hot water, which posed “a serious risk to public health.”
I’m sorry I missed this story in Wales Online from Sept. 13, 2020, as I was doing my own recovering.
Cathy Owen writes that Sharon Jeffreys dreads this time of year.
As children return for the start of the school year, she relives what happened to her family 15 years ago over and over, and over again.
It was only two weeks into the start of the school year at Deri Primary in 2005 when her eldest son Chandler came home with stomach pains and the beginning of a nightmare for the young family.
Chandler had contracted E. coli O157 after eating contaminated food that had been supplied to the school by a local butcher.
But worse was to come after his younger brother Mason also became ill with the food poisoning.
The five-year-old had only just switched from taking packed lunches to having school dinners because he was so fond of chips and sausages.
“It was the worse decision I ever made,” says Sharon. “Mason loved his food. He was taking sausages and chips off the plates of children, so we decided to switch him to school dinners and he was really happy.”
Mason and eight-year-old Chandler were one of more than 150 schoolchildren and adults struck down in the south Wales outbreak. Thirty-one people were admitted to hospital, but Mason was the only one to die.
He had suffered high temperatures, stomach pains and had hallucinations and was admitted to Bristol children’s hospital, but died of kidney failure.
Today, his mum Sharon remembers every moment of those terrifying days.
“It will be 15 years on September 13 when Chandler first became ill,” she remembers. “When Mason started to be sick I tried to do everything I possibly could. Mason’s condition deteriorated considerably and he started to hallucinate saying he could see slugs and frogs.
“He went a yellow colour and started sweating like he’d just come out of a shower. Mason died two weeks later in unbearable pain.”
Reflecting on the amount of time that has passed, Sharon says: “I just can’t believe how long it has been, it feels like such a long time since I last saw him.
“It is still very difficult to think about, but at this time of year I always relive that awful time. I always dread September coming along because it takes me back there.
“I will never get over it, but I have had to learn how to live with it, but little things can take me back there. Like I see a blade of grass, or hear something and it takes me back with a jolt.
“After Mason died it was really busy, there was the inquest and then the legal proceedings, so I didn’t actually face what had happened for a long time, and then it went quiet and it was like trying to scramble out of a big black hole.
“Mason would have been 21 in December. He should have been looking forward to celebrating that milestone in his life.
“Chandler is 23 now, but he is not the same person. He and Mason were so close, it has left a big hole in his life.
“My younger son is 16 and it has affected his life too. He can’t remember Mason because he wasn’t even one at the time, and that upsets him.”
Fifteen years on and Sharon and her family still feel that they have been denied justice.
Bridgend butcher William Tudor, 56, was jailed for breaching hygiene laws by allowing raw meat to come into contact with cooked ham and turkey.
It was claimed he bought cheap frozen New Zealand mutton and passed it off as prime Welsh lamb and staff who brought him rotten meat unfit for consumption were told to “mince it up” and use it in faggots.
Sharon went on to immerse herself in other food safety issues, including a push to make restaurant inspection disclosure – scores on doors – mandatory in Wales. Voluntary disclosure misses the point and if large cities like Toronto, New York and Los Angeles can figure out how to make it mandatory so can Wales.
Disclosure became mandatory in Wales and Northern Ireland in Nov. 2013, thanks in part – or largely — to Sharon’s efforts.
The rest of the UK, and Australia, wallows in a voluntary system: lousy score, don’t post it.
“The food hygiene rating scheme is very important and it is good that more people are more aware after what happened,” says Sharon.
“It is a bit concerning to hear that Covid might have an impact on some council environmental services, but we need to make sure there are more officers carrying out inspections and making sure that best practice is being followed.
“I have heard back from people that they have used our story as part of their training for cooks and kitchen staff.
“Before Mason’s death I had never really heard of E. coli. I had heard the name, but didn’t know much about it.
“Now, I think people are definitely more aware. That is good to know, good to know that people haven’t forgotten, even after all these years.”
Joanne Serrieh of Alarabiya reports a five-year-old child is dead and 700 other people have been hospitalized in Jordan with mass food poisoning after eating shawarma at a restaurant in the town of Ain al-Basha, north of the capital Amman, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday.
Investigations revealed that the meat and chicken shawarma had been prepared without using a refrigeration unit in an “unhealthy environment and without adhering to the health requirements and the minimum levels of general safety,” the official Jordan News Agency reported citing a ministry press release.
Laboratory tests also found that bacteria in meat and poultry products at the restaurant, according to the ministry’s statement.
The restaurant was immediately shut down following investigations and the restaurant owner is in police custody, AFP reported citing local media.
Blog TO reports Pizza Hut Canada has confirmed they have dealt with the situation of unsanitary food practices at a specific restaurant location in Scarborough.
A customer at the pizza chain witnessed an employee refilling a tray of cheese in an unsanitary way and happened to capture the act on video.
Facebook user Corina Somers was at the Pizza Hut in Parkway mall on Ellesmere Road in Scarborough weeks ago, and noticed an employee refilling the cheese container without gloves on.
She posted the video on Facebook with the caption, “Pizza Hut Parkway mall on Victoria Park and Ellesmere. Share The sh*t out of it so people are aware of it.”
“She has the container right on the floor and dumping the cheese and touching the bag and then touching the cheese with her hand,” Somers wrote in the comments of her video. “The containers shouldn’t be on the floor, (they) should be on the counter.”
Her video has since been flooded with comments and has nearly 700 shares and Somers wrote in the comments that she reported the incident and also spoke to a public health inspector.
An award-winning Fishguard restaurant and its two directors have been ordered to pay more than £15,200 for food safety offences, with one of them prohibited from operating a food business.
Both directors of JT3 Restaurant in Fishguard, Daniel Wynne Jones and Lois Thomas, along with their company Me‘n’u1 Ltd, pleaded guilty to all offences at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Friday, 3 July.
They were fined a total of £10,700 with more than £4,500 costs, and Daniel Wynne Jones was also banned from operating a food business.
In a prosecution brought by Pembrokeshire County Council, the court heard that the premises was issued a Food Hygiene Rating of 0 following an inspection in March 2019 by an officer from the authority’s Public Protection Division.
During the inspection the officer found the basement kitchen to be in a poor state of cleanliness and repair, with no disinfecting cleaning products or soap available, an inadequate water supply and flies present. There was no evidence of any food safety management system in use and the business scored a 0 food hygiene rating.
Two revisits were made to check for improvements, which were made, but the business failed to display their food hygiene rating sticker and had to be supplied with a new one, along with a warning.
Subsequent visits saw the sticker being hidden behind doors and then behind an umbrella hanging from a hook above it. A fixed penalty fine for the offence of failing to display the sticker went unpaid.
On 13 December 2019 another inspection was carried out at the restaurant. On arrival officers were told that the business was closed, but once in the kitchen, they found that a substantial amount of food preparation was going on and were dismayed to find that conditions had deteriorated again, including the ongoing poor structural condition and complete lack of any implemented food safety controls in relation to the safe production of food. Again, the business scored a 0 Food Hygiene rating.
By 19 December the situation had worsened to the point that two visits had to be made that day and a Remedial Action Notice served to prevent the manufacture of chicken liver parfait and duck. Improvement notices were also served to try to address the level of training and ensure that food safety procedures were introduced and sustained.
Unfortunately these improvement notices were not complied with and the food hygiene rating sticker remained deliberately hidden.
As well as the fine, costs of £4571.11 were awarded to the county council, with victim surcharges of £240.
And, on the 50th anniversary of Workingman’s Dead, one of my favorite albums, enjoy.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants are, according to Jeff Weinsier of Local 10 news, still operating for take-out and delivery, and inspectors are out in full force.
Local 10 News’ Jeff Weinsier looked into the numbers and found that over 1,000 inspections have been made in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties during the month of April.
Sonny’s Famous Steak Hogies in Hollywood has been a staple in the community for over 60 years. Its dining room has become a storage area, but customers are keeping them extremely busy with take-out and delivery orders.
John Nigro of Sonny’s makes every one of his employees sign a copy of the restaurant’s rules, to ensure everything remains sanitary and follows the proper health guidelines. He knows a health inspector could pop in at any moment.
The good news is that no kitchens have been ordered shut over the past two weeks.