June 21, 2017 - DineWise, the food inspection grading program launched by the TBDHU in January, has helped improve vendors’ compliance with food safety standards according to the results of an evaluation that was presented to the Board of Health today at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
Abby Mackie, senior public health inspector, reported that during the first 6 months of the year, there were significantly fewer critical and major infractions identified during inspections (infractions which have the greatest potential to contribute to food poisoning). Before DineWise was implemented, public health inspectors identified 30 critical infractions for every 100 inspections; since the program, this number fell to 6. Similarly, the number of major infractions decreased from 89 per 100 inspections to 31.
“There was also an improvement in grades,” says Mackie. “With fewer infractions occurring, the proportion of food premises receiving an A grade almost doubled.”
Feedback about DineWise from customers and operators has been positive.
“Operators appreciate the educational aspects of the program, which help them to better comply with food safety standards and protect their customers. The public appreciates having more information to help them decide where to eat,” Mackie adds.
The Health Unit will continue to evaluate the DineWise program throughout the remainder of 2017 to monitor trends in compliance. This information will be used to provide insight for program improvements, and to inform the ongoing education that public health inspectors are providing to food premise operators in the City of Thunder Bay.
DineWise was launched in January of this year after changes to the City of Thunder Bay’s licensing bylaws. The changes now require businesses that serve food to the public, including restaurants and food trucks, to post a scorecard displaying their most recent food safety inspection grade at entrances and pick-up windows. DineWise informs the public of the condition of these food premises and provides customers with an easy-to-understand grading system they can use to make decisions about where they want to eat. More detailed information is available at TBDHU.COM in the operator package prepared for and delivered to every operator at the beginning of the year.