March 14, 2008
Food Premises Inspections Ensure Industry is Safe
The Honourable Kevin O�Brien, Minister of Government Services, reiterated today the Provincial Government has confidence in its food inspection program. Minister O�Brien also pointed out that the environmental health officers, who conduct these inspections, are highly trained and do a great job of protecting public health and safety.
"I want to assure consumers that health risks are extremely low because of the inspection program we have in place and the efforts of food premises operators," said Minister O�Brien. "When inspections identify areas which need to be corrected, many times these areas are corrected on the spot. If there is ever a concern that human health may be at risk, environmental health inspectors will exercise their professional judgement and either work with the operator or shut an operation down until corrective measures are taken. Food-borne illnesses involving licensed premises are extremely rare."
Questions have been raised in recent weeks about the safety of food premises following the release of the annual Auditor General�s report on January 31. Environmental health inspections require well-educated and professional individuals who are nationally certified public health inspectors. They determine regulatory compliance in a number of health-related areas including food premises inspections.
"Based on their observation, measurement of risk and professional judgment, environmental health inspectors ensure human health is protected," said Minister O�Brien. "Inspectors are assigned premises and are aware of any corrections made since their previous visits. I commend our officers for the dedication they show to their work everyday in protecting public health and safety."
The Provincial Government has set high targets for the number of inspections carried out and is increasing attainment of these targets. The Department of Government Services has undertaken a number of improvements to its food inspection program and is working to enhance inspection report documentation. Recent upgrades to the department�s computer system will also provide the ability to track trends over time to assist in managing the program.
In addition, the public release of food premises inspection reports can now be accessed by calling Government Service Centres. The department will release any inspection reports requested as quickly as possible.
"Also, we are exploring the idea of providing this information to the public on a regular basis. We will consult with other jurisdictions on their practices as to the level of details they provide as well as seek input from the public and industry. We will continue to improve our database system so that we can explore the possibility of setting up an online information system in the future," said Minister O�Brien.
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2008 03 14 11:40 a.m.
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