Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Oxford County Public Health
HealthInspectOxford.ca Now Online
Oxford County residents can now view public health inspection reports for local eateries at HealthInspectOxford.ca, a new website by Public Health & Emergency Services that aims to improve food safety in the community.
Ontario’s public health units are required by legislation to routinely inspect all premises that serve food to the public, including restaurants, grocery stores, retail outlets, event halls and other establishments, and to make the results of these inspections available to the public. While inspection reports were previously available on request, www.HealthInspectOxford.ca, which posts inspections results for each establishment for a period of up to two years, makes this information easier and more convenient to find.
While research shows that the best way to ensure food safety in a community is to educate and train food handlers about food safety, making inspection results more readily available to the public is thought to improve compliance with food safety regulations. In a 2010 survey about food safety in Oxford County, 96% of respondents said they wanted more information about restaurant inspections and 87.4% said this knowledge would influence their decisions about where to eat.
In addition to sharing health inspection reports, www.HealthInspectOxford.ca will also share information on food safety and how to prevent food-borne illness. In the near future, Oxford County Public Health plans to include inspection reports from other services it inspects, such as swimming pools, personal services, etc.
Public health inspections are only one part of Oxford County Public Health’s food safety program, which also includes outbreak investigation, training and education. For more information visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/health.
“We are fortunate in Oxford County to have good compliance with Ontario’s food safety regulations. Owners and operators of food premises in our community have also been supportive of this project, and recognize that we’re all working together to help protect people from food-borne illness.”
- Elaine Reddick, Program Supervisor, Health Protection
- The Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education estimates that between 11 and 13 million Canadians suffer from foodborne illnesses (“food poisoning”) every year
- The Partnership says that although most people fully recover from foodborne illnesses, 2 to 3 per cent of cases lead to chronic health problems, with Health Canada estimating that the annual cost related to these illnesses is between 12 and 14 billion dollars.
Food safety is a mandatory program for Ontario’s health units under the Ontario Public Health Standards. Oxford County Public Health & Emergency Services works to prevent or reduce foodborne illness in the community by inspecting food premises; organizing food handler training; teaching people about food safety; understanding incidents of foodborne illness in Oxford County; investigating and responding to outbreaks of foodborne illness, unsafe food handling practices, food recalls, etc.; and providing expertise for food-related issues arising from floods, fires, power outages and other situations that may affect food safety.
519-539-9800 ext 3503