Facebook is full of people posting comments about questionable restaurant activity. But most online reviewers only ever see the food that makes it to their plate.
There’s a more comprehensive way, though, of learning just how well-cleaned your favourite restaurant, grocery store or fast-food outlet is.
Every food-serving location in the Lower Mainland is regularly visited by public health inspectors working for the local health authority. And while restaurants don’t post their reports on their front door, anyone can find inspections dating back nearly a decade online.
It’s not just fast-food and high-end restaurants that get inspected. Church and school kitchens, food service for Abbotsford Regional Hospital, grocery stores and all other places that handle food regularly receive inspections.
Every single inspection report results in a “hazard rating.” Low hazard ratings are most common. A poor review occasionally results in a “moderate” hazard rating and usually a follow-up inspection. “High” inspection ratings are rare.
ARH’s inpatient food service, for instance, received a “moderate” hazard rating following a December inspection. It was the first time in more than eight years that the service hadn’t been a “low” hazard.
Inspectors found sanitizer buckets didn’t have strong enough and that dust and mould was found on fans and racks on a walk-in fridge. A follow-up inspection four days later found improvement.
Most Fraser Health facilities consistently receive low ratings, but last March, health inspectors found mice droppings and urine in the Langley Memorial Hospital food service kitchen. That and other violations led to a “high” hazard rating. Two days later, a follow-up inspection found all the problems had been fixed. Another inspection in October also turned up no hazards.
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