January 24, 2011
DineSafe restaurant inspection program celebrates 10th birthday
Ten years ago this month, Toronto became the first municipality in Ontario to require restaurants to publicly display the results of their most recent restaurant inspection.
DineSafe is Toronto Public Health’s Food Premises Inspection and Disclosure system. Under this program, restaurants post colour-coded inspection results at the front entrances of restaurants and results are also posted on a searchable website. The DineSafe website now lists 14,755 food establishments, and diners can easily and quickly check the inspection status of any location on the site.
“In the past 10 years, DineSafe has increased the transparency of the restaurant inspection process and led to a significant improvement in food safety,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown. “I am proud of the program, and congratulate our public health inspectors and restaurant owners and operators who work together every day to make our food safer.”
Prior to the implementation of DineSafe, less than 50 per cent of restaurants passed their first inspection. After the first year of the program, 78 per cent of the premises inspected received a green pass, and compliance with all food safety regulations has now risen to 91 per cent.
“DineSafe has increased the efficiency of the system as the vast majority of restaurants pass their first inspection without the need for a re-inspection, meaning our inspectors can now visit more places,” said Dr. McKeown. Any premise that receives a yellow conditional pass is re-inspected within 48 hours. Depending on the type of operation, each premise requires between one and three mandatory inspections a year.
Since 2001, cities and governments in Canada and around the world have implemented almost identical programs, including London, Halton, Hamilton, Peel Region, Durham, Sacramento County – California, Shanghai, and several cities in Scotland, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
In 2006, the City further strengthened food safety in Toronto by passing a Food Handler Training bylaw that ensures every restaurant has a certified food handler on site at all times. To date, TPH (Toronto Public Health) has certified 38,331 employees on safe food handling practices.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.