QR codes for restaurant inspection disclosure in Sudbury

My sister, who lives in Sudbury (that’s in Canada), may be pleased to know the Sudbury and District Health Unit has asked restaurants to put new decals in their window. The decals include a code people can scan with their cell phone to access health inspection results.

UnknownThe Food Safety manager with the health unit said making restaurant cleanliness information easily accessible is important.

“[It gives] the consumer the information at hand to make the best decision possible [about] whether they choose to eat at that place or not,” Cynthia Peacock-Rocca said.

The decal program is voluntary for restaurants. She noted creating a mandatory program would have required legislative changes in all the municipalities the health unit serves.      

The results of inspection reports have been available on the health unit website since 2009.

Lots of support for restaurant that had food handler with hepatitis A

n a truly Canadian move, more than 70 owners, management and staff from Sudbury bars and restaurants ate and drank at a Sudbury, Ontario (that’s in Canada) Casey’s in a show of solidarity. In early February over a thousand patrons might have been exposed to hepatitis A after a food handler was diagnosed with the virus. According to The Sudbury Star, even the local health unit, the folks who ran the hep A shot clinics, hosted a retirement party for over 40 folks at the restaurant.default-1

Last week, Peddler’s Pub invited fellow establishments to join them in a show of support for the Kingsway bar and grill, which suffered a publicity setback last month when an employee was diagnosed with hepatitis A and patrons were urged to get vaccines through the Sudbury and District Health Unit.

“It’s one of those unfortunate things that can happen to any restaurant,” said Peddler’s marketing manager Cliff Skelliter. “Casey’s is such an important part of our community. A lot of people have jobs there and the owners are amazing, just absolute sweethearts.”

Dave Temmerman, co-owner of Hard Rock, brought a contingent of 14 people affiliated with his Elm Street pub.

“In times like this it’s nice to know who your friends are and stick together,” said Temmerman.

The public should have no fear of dining at Casey’s, he said, as standards of hygiene at this restaurant are as strict as any he’s encountered.

“I’ve worked in a lot of places, and it’s one of the cleanest I’ve worked in,” he said. “What happened to them is just a bad deal. People in the industry know it can happen to anybody, and it’s not because their place is dirty.”

Casey’s owner Marty Wills said the endorsement of counterparts means a lot.

“It’s wonderful what all the other restaurants have done,” he said. “They’ve been getting together and showing a little love, a little support for us, because they understand we didn’t do anything wrong.”

The hepatitis A that was detected in a Casey’s employee “was never created here,” said Wills. “She just happened to work here.”

Having a clean restaurant (whatever that means) doesn’t really matter; in this situation, risk is influenced by the food handler’s handwashing behavior. US FDA risk factor studies have shown that handwashing compliance in food service isn’t great. Requiring your staff to have hep A vaccinations would avoid stuff like this.

Sudbury, Ontario Casey’s patrons potentially exposed to hep A

Growing up in the bustling metropolis of Port Hope, Ontario (that’s in Canada) with it’s population of 10,000 hosers, restaurant choices were limited. We often made the 10km drive to Cobourg, where Casey’s was the place to be. I can trace 30lbs of my body mass to their chicken wings, ribs and potato skins.

A Sudbury, Ontario (that’s also in Canada) Casey’s restaurant is, according to the Sudbury Star, dealing with a hepatitis A situation, with over 1000 patrons lining up for post exposure shots.default

Sudburians and others who dined at a popular restaurant last month clearly took a warning to heart that was issued last week by the Sudbury & District Health Unit. Anyone who ate at Casey’s Bar & Grill from Jan. 1 to 20, especially from Jan. 15-20, was urged to get assessed and have a hepatitis A vaccination after a restaurant employee was confirmed as having the illness.

By Monday morning, nurses at the health unit had administered 1,056 hepatitis A shots in three days of free clinics and they weren’t finished. They were working extended hours Monday, but were to return to their normal 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. routine Tuesday. Holly Browne said the vaccination, which usually costs $60 for adults and $40 for children, is most effective two weeks after exposure although the incubation period for hepatitis A is 50 days.

The health unit fielded more than 1,000 phone calls in three days, screening those who ate at Casey’s from Jan. 1-14 and offering vaccinations to those who dined there from Jan. 15-20. The health unit was notified that the employee had contracted hepatitis A by a laboratory that did blood testing on the person. Hepatitis A is a reportable disease.

Casey’s issued a statement after the health unit reported the case of hepatitis A infection Thursday. It said the affected employee will be on sick leave until fully recovered. Casey’s voluntarily closed its restaurant Thursday and reopened Friday after undergoing a thorough, third-party sanitization of kitchen equipment and the entire restaurant. Its employees attended a vaccination clinic Thursday.


A guy ate a cockroach sandwich, so he’s waging Twitter war against a Canadian Subway

After allegedly finding a cockroach in his sandwich at a Subway franchise in Sudbury, Ontario, Patrick Balfour took to Twitter to voice his complaints against the sandwich giant. He’s sparing no expense in the process: He even bought two anti-Subway promoted tweets for $90. His story is a testament to the power of social media to affect sweeping change—or the power of a near-obsessive-compulsive desire to shame a sandwich chain, either one.

Balfour’s Subway saga began 11 months ago, when he contacted @SubwayOntario via Twitter to complain about finding the critter in his sandwich (a turkey footlong on Italian subway-sandwich-in-handherb and cheese bread).

He didn’t have a photo of the sandwich. “I was [disgusted] and got rid of the sub as soon as possible,” he said in an email. “I never thought it would drag on this long or that I’d ever need a photo of a dead cockroach.” But after sending a few tweets to @SubwayOntario, the company eventually responded, asking for Balfour’s contact info. When they failed to follow up with him after 10 days, he reached out again and they responded with the same message.

For a while, Balfour forgot about the cockroach incident, until @SubwayCanada launched a promotional initiative on Twitter. He decided to use their new advertising campaign as an opportunity to contact them again:

SUBWAY CANADA: More than great sandwiches, follow SUBWAY®Canada today!

PATRICK BALFOUR: ‪@SUBWAYCanada I found a cockroach in my sub. I spoke with someone from ‪@SubwayOntario & they said someone would be in touch. Never happened

PATRICK BALFOUR: ‪@mike_check_2012 ‪@SUBWAYCanada I wasn’t paying attention and it was dead. I thought it was a black olive at first until I saw the legs

PATRICK BALFOUR: ‪@SUBWAYCanada ‪@SubwayOntario no response??? Awesome!

PATRICK BALFOUR: ‪@SUBWAYCanada ‪@SubwayOntario a Why are you ignoring my tweets? You’d think that if I found a cockroach in my sub you might want to reach out

Like before, he received a perfunctory response:

SUBWAY CANADA: ‪@patrickbalfour ‪@SubwayOntario We’re sorry to hear this! Plz reach out to our Customer Care team at 1-800-888-4848 or http://bit.ly/1iA8MQV

“I called [the line], even though I thought that was a horrible response,” he told me. “What I got was a 24 hour voice mail. Now I was mad!”

Enraged by the subpar customer service, Balfour promoted the following tweet:

PATRICK BALFOUR: I found a dead cockroach in my sub which I bought in Ontario. This tweet is being promoted! Do you care now ‪@SubwayCanada? ‪#Subway

PATRICK BALFOUR: ‪@draxapup ‪@SUBWAYCanada if they have twitter available to engage with their customers they should solve their problems. Not very smart!

Clean up after canines in Canada

Lynda, clean up after your dog.

Lynda is my sister, and she lives with her family in Sudbury (that’s in Canada) which is like Kansas in that it’s snowing on April 23/13.

Police in Sudbury, Ontario, said they are on the lookout for rogue dog owners who let their pets poop on other people`s lawns — and don`t
dog-poop-scooppick it up.

Officers with the Rainbow District Animal Control office get about 100 complaint calls about dog poop every year.

To deal with it, they send officers in unmarked patrol cars to look for owners who let their dogs poop and run, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., said Friday.”

The Rainbow District? Is this a gay dog rights issue?

There is a town in Northern Ontario that posts inspection results online

You can take the girl out of Northern Ontario, but you can’t take the Northern Ontario out of the girl. Since moving to New Zealand I’ve picked up a few Kiwi-isms, but I’ve managed to keep my awful hick accent, and still occasionally read the news for happenings near my hometown.

Sudbury, home of the OHL (that’s ice hockey) team Sudbury Wolves, has begun posting the results of restaurant inspections online, reports Northern Life Online. The website, www.sdhu.com, launched today, and reports go back to November 1, 2009.

Stacey Laforest, a manager in the Health Unit’s Environmental Health division, said,

“Before we had the technology to go online, the public could call us for inspection and enforcement information for restaurants and other food premises. Posting the information on our website makes it more accessible to the public.”

[F]ood premises in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts are listed alphabetically by name. Information includes food premises inspection reports, food safety convictions reports, food safety closures reports, an explanation of commonly used terms, and a link to the applicable legislation.

I took a gander at the website, curious what East Side Mario’s received on its most recent inspection – it hasn’t been inspected since November. Neither have the majority of restaurants in the database, with every one I clicked on returning a blank screen. I’d rather see a card at the door.

For the Neil Young fans, Helpless (below), because There is a town in Northern Ontario…

KATIE FILION: Sudbury should make scores public, eh? Batta-boom batta-bing.

Last month while visiting friends in Sudbury, Ontario, we ate at East Side Mario’s restaurant – I love the unlimited salad and breadsticks. Though I didn’t have any problems with my meal, a patron who ate lunch at the Lasalle boulevard restaurant Dec. 30 did, and voiced a complaint to the Sudbury District Health Unit, according to the Sudbury Star.

"The patron complained about employees coughing on food, improper employee hand washing and a lack of hot water. A visit by the health inspector the next day didn’t reveal any violations, but it was recommended the restaurant review food education and handling practices with its employees. After a follow-up inspection resulted in a charge for lack of sanitizer in the mechanical glass washer, vice-president of operations at East Side Mario’s decided to close the restaurant. Employees from East Side Mario’s head office were sent in to help the local site return to company standards.

Though charges for the Lasalle Boulevard restaurant were made public it’s not typical of health and safety infractions in the Sudbury district. Here people must phone and ask about any problems at a restaurant or food store and receive either a verbal or written report about inspection reports, closures and convictions, said Stacey Laforest, manager of the health unit’s environmental division.

There are better ways to communicate restaurant inspection results than simply disclosing information to curious consumers who call in. Many health units in North America are making results available via websites, like the Toronto, Ontario website DineSafe (http://app.toronto.ca/food2/DineSafeMain); or mandatory posting of inspection score cards (in the form of letter, grade, color, or smiley-face schemes) near the entrance of premises. Increasing the availability and display of food safety information will raise overall awareness, and push food establishments to better themselves. The Greater Sudbury district could benefit from such disclosure methods. 

Katie Filion is a soon-to-be graduate student at Kansas State University who currently resides in Doug and Amy’s basement.