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.

8 sick with E. coli O157 in Ontario, source unknown

Two weeks ago, Canadian bureaucrats said there was an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked with consumption of veal liver, but never did say how many people got sick or where.

Tonight, Grey-Bruce public health officials – that’s in Ontario, Canada — are trying to find a link in a cluster of genetically similar cases of E. coli O157 which has sickened eight people over the past several weeks.

Health spokesthingy Angela Newman said, "We’re looking at their food history, where they’ve been travelling, some of their activities in order to determine if there’s any linkage between the cases. At this point, we have not been able to identify any particular link.”

Those sickened range in age from six to 85. Some of the victims are still in hospital, but are "on the mend," Newman said. Some were "pretty ill."

No one seems to know much.

Norovirus strikes Ontario wedding

Nothing says ‘I love you’ better than rampant barfing at a wedding.

About 150 of the 185 people attending a July 3, 2010 wedding at the Stone Tree Golf and Fitness Club south of Owen Sound, Ont. barfed the magic night away.

Health officials say lab tests confirmed norovirus as responsible for the outbreak. Staff have been co-operative, the facility has been cleaned and all staff have been re-trained about health and safety practices.