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Poll: Health Inspections

November 26, 2008

For my final research project in my Investigative Journalism class, we had to research, investigate, and write a piece on any topic of our choice (my topic was misleading nutrition claims on food products, which I will talk more about another day). One of my classmates pitched her story to us which I found to be particularly intriguing. Her interest lay in the health inspections of restaurants.

What I think is very interesting about health inspections is how little you hear about them. There are always restaurant reviews in the newspaper and in the local food magazines, discussing the atmosphere of various restaurants and how good the dishes taste and so on. But the cleanliness of the place? Nada.

So I looked into it just a bit. It’s all public information, so if you look around on the Internet you can find out about your local restaurants and which ones have been closed by health inspectors. If you are in the Winnipeg area, just click here for a list of these restaurants. It also provides a description of the reason behind why the restaurant got closed down.

Fire damage, of course, isn’t a big deal. But “filthy throughout” and “rodents”? Ew. And not all of these places are sketchy diners that have been found inadequate upon inspection, either (not that all diners are sketchy. But they’d have a more likely reputation for being so). I mean, even Starbucks and the Fyxx and Second Cup and the Olive Garden made this list (but we all knew about Carlos & Murphy’s anyway- if only their food didn’t taste so good!).

You can check out the list of convictions here for the restaurants in Winnipeg (for everyone else? Just Google food inspections in your area. The document you’re looking for should be one of the first items listed). Some of these places that were convicted just got reprimands; others were only fined less than a couple hundred dollars. And even if a place did have to pay up, it sure doesn’t do much to informing the consumers or to the restaurants reputation if the information isn’t splashed all over the newspapers! Personally, I wouldn’t mind knowing about health inspections when they are going on. I don’t know if I would stop eating at the place anyway, but I would still like to be aware of what is happening in those kitchens.

What do you all think?

And after you answer that poll…

Just one more:

Thanks all! We’ll check back with these polls in about a month to discuss the results.

One of my other classes is on online course, in which I have been trying to improve my blog. So, I created a WordPress account and imported all of my blog posts there. Now that it has been created, I am considering switching my blog from Blogger to WordPress, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Seeing as you would all be reading it, I figure your contribution is pretty important in making this kind of decision. I’d create a poll for your answers, but that seemed a little pretentious (says the girl who used a photo of herself doing a push up at the Colosseum as her header at WordPress).

The one at WordPress could be a little more colourful, I think, and it still needs a bit of touching up. Anyway, leave your opinion in the comments- do you prefer my blog here at Blogger or the one at WordPress? Do you care? Don’t be shy! And thanks for your input:)

20 comments

  1. Sagan,

    I used both platforms for blogging and find that wordpress meets my needs for ease and the plugins. But your milage may differ. šŸ™‚


  2. I don’t know enough to give any useful advice.

    Well, maybe tell your Dad to use a little more Oregano šŸ™‚

    Happy U.S. Thanksgiving, buddy!!


  3. Always good Sagan! Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!


  4. Oh, yes, having worked in the food industry, I was well aware of health inspections.
    When I managed the kitchen I worked in, we were vigilant about keeping it clean. Most of our staff was teenagers, so it was also a teaching sort of position. But I stress that, although we were a busy little place, it was nothing like the huge restaurants serving hundreds of meals every day. Especially in places where they have critters that we don’t have to contend with here in the frozen wilds of Alberta (cockroaches are rare, and Alberta is supposedly rat-free) What we did have a problem with was mice….but they can be controlled, and we checked for them every day.


  5. Confession: I worked in a schmancy Connecticut coffee house when I was 18 and sometimes my co-workers and I accidentally dropped stuff and put it back in the pastry case anyways. Okay, I’ll say five Hail Marys now!

    I’m a fan of WordPress, having used it for a couple of years in various blog incarnations. In the end, play around and see what meets your needs best :).


  6. Having known the joys of food poisoning, I am ALL in favour of publicising health inspections. I wonder if they have the same policy in the UK? Google here I come….

    (like both blogs! although wordpress wins purely because it has you at the top – love that picture)

    TA x


  7. Like always, great post Sagan.

    I actually knew of this information that was posted online, since I had read about it in a forum years back when they were discussing a particular restaurant. I have found this useful from time to time, but I don’t often go to eat out. And if I do, I don’t usually have the time to check ahead about their Health Inspections either. So, for me, although this information is useful and available, I have only used it on a small number of times to look up data on restaurants in my community.

    As for WordPress versus Blogger. I choose WordPress. I think it gives the user more flexibility, and the designs overall are pleasing and great for plugins and user customization. As well, posting is quite easy too.


  8. Tom- thanks for your input!

    Dr. J- oregano is so tasty:)

    Mark- its settled. I’m coming to the US just so I can celebrate Thanksgiving.

    Bag Lady- rat-free? That’s neat, I wasn’t aware. I don’t like mice, especially removing them from the traps. Ugh. And cockroaches are just the worst!

    Liz- oh well if you say your Hail Marys… hehe:)

    TA- let me know if they do it in the UK too! I’m interested if its a worldwide thing. (I’ll have to remember to start taking a push up photo everywhere I travel… it’s the new garden gnome:)).

    Sharon- thanks for the info! And agreed, if its a spur of the moment thing then there won’t be enough time to check up on it.


  9. Yes, I would like to know more about restaurant inspections, but then, ugh it’s just down right gross sometimes to think/know about it all…Here’s to giving thanks to all those digestive enzymes and billions of healthy flora in the gut, they are definitely there for a reason šŸ™‚

    As for WordPress, after 1 year of blogging on Blogger, I would like to switch myself. But I’m a little intimidated to make the move. WordPress seems to offer so many more options. I’m just not tech savy and Blogger has been very easy.


  10. I found a great link for restaurant inspections by state if anyone is interested – http://www.allfoodbusiness.com/health_inspections.php

    I use WordPress… but only because I have my own domain and it’s easy for that. I used to use blogger. I guess I like wordpress better but it’s not like it’s way better than blogger.


  11. I don’t eat out often. I kinda wish restaurants were legislated to post their inspection papers on their front door. I think this would change things very quickly in terms of cleanliness….and rodents. Ewww.

    I have my own domain so I use the WordPress platform. I’d recommend getting your own domain for full flexibility. šŸ™‚


  12. Wow, I love that information! I’ve never really thought about my town’s health inspections. I didn’t know we could access that information.

    I use wordpress and love it!


  13. I’m diggin the wordpress look, but I still like Bloggoer. šŸ™‚

    And now off to google…


  14. I think restaurant cleanliness is not as emphasized at it should be. I mean strangers are preparing your food!

    I have a general preference for wordpress.


  15. Jolene- I had to ask about 3,000,000 people to “explain to me again exactly HOW WordPress works?”. Yeah, technologically savvy? Not so much over here! (and so true about the gut).

    Magpie- thanks for that link and your thoughts!

    Squawkfox- re: the domain: it’s going to take me a looong time before I manage to understand that sort of stuff. One of my goals:) I wonder why restaurants AREN’T required to have that?

    Strongandhealthy- it’s amazing how much info is actually available to the public once you start looking.

    Jenn- thanks for the input:)

    HangryPants- and isn’t it interesting how we tend not to think of the weirdness that is having total strangers prepare our food without us having any idea of the state of the kitchen and so forth?


  16. i LOVE these polls – i had NO idea that this info was available to the public!


  17. Update: appears not to be the case in the UK! Shame, I was curious…

    TA x


  18. Thanks for the info! I had no idea. As for the wordpress vs. blogger question, just go with whichever you like best! The rest of us will read you on either site, so long as you post the link;) Happy Thanksgiving


  19. Loveofoats- there’s so much available once we start looking! Just have to know what our rights are:)

    TA- that’s too bad… I wonder why? Write to the government to complain! Hehe.

    Charlotte- Thanks!


  20. Go for WordPress! I had Blogger for a little bit, but I definitely like WordPress a lot more! I’m thinking of starting another blog at WordPress in addition to my fitness one.

    The restaurant inspection topic is interesting. I never think about them unless I happen to see the certificate from the inspection in the window or posted up somewhere. Or if I read that a restaurant was fined or closed because of an inspection. That definitely makes me second guess about eating there!



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