Delta's eateries generally highly compliant with health inspections

Delta’s eateries have generally been highly compliant when visited by health region inspectors, according to inspections posted on Fraser Health’s website.

According to the reports, a couple dozen Delta establishments received a “high” hazard rating at some point in 2019 but almost all were then listed as low after follow-up inspections.

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No establishments had to be shut down temporarily last year, unlike other cities such as Burnaby, which saw 23 businesses ordered closed for at least one day.

The reports show about 80 Delta operations received a “high” hazard rating at some point in the last five years.

Any place that sells or serves foods, including restaurants, pubs, grocery and convenience stores, high school cafeterias, park concession stands, church kitchens and more, are inspected annually.

Any violations are scored on a numerical rating, depending on the violation, which could result in low, moderate or high hazard scores, prompting follow-up visits to ensure the establishments are in compliance.

The region notes that to ensure compliance with the Food Premises Regulation and the Food Safety Act, inspections determine if industry standard practices are being followed with respect to general food handling, storage temperatures, sanitation, employee hygiene, and equipment or food contact surface disinfection procedures.

Public health inspectors pay particular attention to ensuring food is protected from possible contamination by chemicals or microorganisms and that adequate temperature controls are in place, the region explains, adding the general sanitary and physical condition of the premises is also evaluated.

Fraser Health does not inspect or monitor facilities where only prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous foods are offered for sale.

FHA spokesperson Tasleem Juma said it’s all about “progressive enforcement” and that forcing closures is rare.

“They’ll look for things like, for example, proper hand washing stations, is hot food being kept at a certain temperature or is cold food being kept at a certain temperature, are they keeping fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat and there’s no cross-contamination of food, a whole list of requirements that the licensee is supposed to be following,” she explained.

“Infractions have a point value associated with them. So, for example, if your staff schedule is not posted on the wall, it’s a lower point value than using your cutting board to cut raw chicken and raw vegetables. When they find infractions and assign a point value and add those up, the total determines whether it’s a low, medium or high hazard. Sometimes, if there’s a high hazard rating or higher potential of causing harm to the public, the officer often is actually resolving those issues in the moment. Any time we felt there is an immediate risk to the public’s health or well-being, we can go so far as to issue a closure until the issues are dealt with.”

Inspections are also carried out if a compliant from the public is lodged, she added.

Posting the results online is aimed at adding more transparency and to help members of the public make informed decisions where they want to eat.

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