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How safe is that sandwich?

5 December 2013 No Comment

With students so busy studying for exams or putting the finishing touches on big assignments, they may not be thinking about one thing: food safety whenthey eat on campus. At Mohawk, everything is clear and up to standard. But what’s the process of getting the all-clear? First of all, there are the inspections. Erica Greeley, Food Services Manager at Mohawk, talked about how often the eateries here are inspected.
“By the City of Hamilton, the main kitchen is inspected three times a year. The outlets are inspected twice,” Greeley explained.
How often a place is inspected depends on the risk factor. Places with less food and fewer chances for something to happen to the food are considered low risk. But places that have a lot of food to take care of would be considered higher risk. Accordingly, low-risk restaurants aren’t inspected as often as a high-risk place would be.
Besides overall cleanliness, inspectors watch for many issues that could affect the safety of the food. Richard MacDonald, the Food Safety Manager at Hamilton Public Health Services, outlined what issues inspectors look for.
“They’re looking to make sure the food is protected from contamination. So they’re making sure the food is up off the floor…that it’s covered with lids or plastic wrap and things like that. So basically just protecting it,” he explained. They also look for food handler hygiene, hot and cold running water, and sanitary equipment and utensil storage.
Anyone who wants to look at the results for the school, or anywhere else they like to eat, they can find it at foodsafetyzone.ca. Also, a new card system will be introduced soon.
“Starting next year, in January of 2014, we have a new three card disclosure system,” said MacDonald.
“Basically, after every inspection… an inspector will determine whether or not a green card will be issued. If there are significant violations…they’ll be putting up a cautionary yellow,” he explained.
Any place with more severe issues, like pest problems, will be given a red card. This card would call for the restaurant to be closed down completely. For the less problematic violations, time is given to correct the problem, while fines are possible under certain circumstances. Should anyone in the public have a concern, Hamilton Public Health takes public complaints and will investigate.

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