Opinion: Inspections

POSTED: 10/25/11 2:27 PM

The VSA Inspection of the Ministry of Public health released information about recent controls this weekend.
What we liked about the release is that it contained the actual names of businesses that had been whether it is unsafe electrical wiring or rotten food, the public has a right to know these things, so the inspection did the right thing by publishing the names of the businesses involved.
And still, there was something lacking, in the sense that the information was not too specific.
In the United States, especially in California, health inspectors publish factual findings on a regular basis. The publication is in the form of an advertisement. It states the name of the business, the exact violation, and when it was discovered. The ad also reports about businesses that were the subject of earlier controls and whether or not they corrected the situation inspectors found.
In this format, consumers get access to precise information that might influence for instance their choice of restaurant.
While it seems tough on businesses to find their violations displayed in public, the potential effect of such an approach is positive.
Exactly because businesses don’t like to see their name in publications of this nature, they will be extra alert on doing things right.
At the same time, we feel there is a need for intensified controls. Supermarkets seem to have a talent for keeping vegetables on the shelves any rabbit worth his salt would pass on. The owners seem not too impressed with the occasional close down after an inspection reveals violations that are straightforward health hazards for their customers. Not seldom, within a week after such a rather dramatic event, the vegetables in the store are of the same lame quality.
All this to say that these inspections are necessary, and that the VSA will have to keep up the good work.

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