Should Manitoba restaurants and food retailers post their health inspection reports?

Use your precious 2-3 weeks annual vacation to get out once a year and see something of the world, I would exhort of any Manitoban. By exploring someone else’s living space, you’ll have a better idea of what’s good and what’s not so good about your own community, and you might even come back with some ideas for doing things differently around here.

To that end, a recent trip to Toronto proved fruitful.

I could write about the value of having an urban plan that emphasizes doors and windows at street level, as can be found on Toronto’s Yonge Street, and Queen Street West, and Bloor Street, and Spadina Avenue and in Kensington Market. (In fact, wasn’t Portage Avenue much like some of these Toronto streets in its glory days — a bit dishevelled and raffish, but interesting?) But that would just repeat what was recently discussed in another post about Winnipeg’s Corydon Avenue.

So, let’s talk about food safety instead.

One thing that was quite interesting about Toronto is that restaurants and other places selling food are required to post their latest health inspection report in a place readily visible to customers. Offhand, it seems like a good idea. It’s a bit more transparent than the City of Winnipeg’s Diner’s Digest system (a good idea in itself), and it helps consumers make informed choices.

For example, here’s a report showing that Alexandria at 421 College St. happily passed its latest health inspection in January 2011.

Regrettably, another business over on Dundas St. — now seemingly closed, but with its latest inspection report still posted — didn’t do so well in a 2009 inspection. As the following report shows, they were dinged for improper maintenance and sanitation in their washrooms and on their non-food-contact surfaces and equipment, and for inadequate pest control.

Should the same practice be introduced in Manitoba, now that the provincial government is taking over responsibility for health inspections in all parts of the province?

Incidentally, Toronto is an interesting, lively and diverse city. Well worth a visit sometime, as you can easily spend a whole week there without getting bored. It’s also one of the less expensive cities to fly to from Winnipeg (typically about $400/person round-trip) and accommodations are competitive in both price and quality during the summer months.

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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

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