Canberra Clubs soften view on food safety disclosure trial

I’m still learning to speak Australian, so I’m not sure what the registered clubs lobby is, although I’m guessing it’s not something out of The Flintstones. Maybe it’s like the volunteer firefighters in Bedrock (everything’s made of stone).

The Canberra Times reports the registered clubs lobby has softened its opposition to a mandatory food safety ”scores on doors” scheme for food outlets and called for a voluntary trial of the scheme.

The ACT government and the Greens have both promised to introduce government scores on doors, or star ratings scheme after the October 20 territory election.

Under the scheme, restaurants would have to prominently display government-issued hygiene ratings.

ClubsACT chief executive Jeff House yesterday contacted the government and suggested that as a compromise a six month trial be conducted of the hygiene-rating system.

”It’s much better as a matter of principle to trial something before you implement it, particularly when it hasn’t been done here before,” Mr House said.

Mr. House and others in Canberra, here’s some background.

Filion, K. and Powell, D.A. 2009. The use of restaurant inspection disclosure systems as a means of communicating food safety information. Journal of Foodservice 20: 287-297.?

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from food or water each year. Up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food prepared at foodservice establishments. Consumer confidence in the safety of food prepared in restaurants is fragile, varying significantly from year to year, with many consumers attributing foodborne illness to foodservice. One of the key drivers of restaurant choice is consumer perception of the hygiene of a restaurant. Restaurant hygiene information is something consumers desire, and when available, may use to make dining decisions.

Filion, K. and Powell, D.A. 2011. Designing a national restaurant inspection disclosure system for New Zealand?. ?Journal of Food Protection 74(11): 1869-1874?

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from contaminated food or water each year, and up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food service facilities. The aim of restaurant inspections is to reduce foodborne outbreaks and enhance consumer confidence in food service. Inspection disclosure systems have been developed as tools for consumers and incentives for food service operators. Disclosure systems are common in developed countries but are inconsistently used, possibly because previous research has not determined the best format for disclosing inspection results. This study was conducted to develop a consistent, compelling, and trusted inspection disclosure system for New Zealand. Existing international and national disclosure systems were evaluated. Two cards, a letter grade (A, B, C, or F) and a gauge (speedometer style), were designed to represent a restaurant’s inspection result and were provided to 371 premises in six districts for 3 months. Operators (n = 269) and consumers (n = 991) were interviewed to determine which card design best communicated inspection results. Less than half of the consumers noticed cards before entering the premises; these data indicated that the letter attracted more initial attention (78%) than the gauge (45%). Fifty-eight percent (38) of the operators with the gauge preferred the letter; and 79% (47) of the operators with letter preferred the letter. Eighty-eight percent (133) of the consumers in gauge districts preferred the letter, and 72% (161) of those in letter districts preferring the letter. Based on these data, the letter method was recommended for a national disclosure system for New Zealand.

Katie’s stuck in Chicago, my book chapter is overdue, and the house next door is on fire

The Flintstones were a cultural milestone for kids like me and those who believe that dinosaurs and humans coexisted.

In one particular episode, Barney and Fred join Joe Rockhead’s volunteer fire department as a cover for the dance lessons they are taking so they do not humiliate themselves at the charity ball.

Betty and Wilma eventually realize that the all-stone town of Bedrock is fire proof. The wives then suspect that their husbands are slipping out to meet other women.

It’s like that in Manhattan (Kansas). I love the limestone rock that is the cornerstone of many of the buildings in town, including our own house.

The house next door is made of plaster or something and houses students who drive too fast down our dead-end road.

That house now has a hole in its roof.

It seems like the entire Bedrock volunteer fire department was out tonight after the students next door called in a fire. One of the kids said it was an electrical short. Katie called me, stranded in Chicago, and said it was probably a grow-op or crack den. Whatever it was, there were 30 firefighters working on this house for the last couple of hours. They had ladders, chainsaws, groovy duds, and a lot of them had moustaches.

Fred Flintstone and diet

A study of five men and nine women conducted by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Huddinge, Sweden, found that eating like a caveman may trim the waist and protect against heart disease.

Volunteers were put on a stone-age diet of berries, nuts, lean meat, fish and vegetables while cutting out cereals, dairy products and refined sugar.

After just three weeks they had lost five pounds in weight, their waistlines were slimmer, and their blood pressure was lower.

Those taking part in the Swedish study had to stick to a food list which included lean meat, unsalted fish, fresh or frozen fruit, berries, vegetables — but not beans — most kinds of nuts, canned tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, spices, and coffee or tea without milk or sugar.

Dairy products, beans, peanuts, salt, pasta, rice, sausages, sugar, fruit juices and alcohol were all banned.