The city of Montreal has unanimously approved a motion, put forth by the opposition Ensemble Montreal party, that would require all restaurants and even grocery stores in the city to post their food inspection ratings publicly – and they would have to display the reports at the entrances to their establishments where they could be seen. The motion first has to be approved by Quebec’s department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) before anything can be implemented. As it stands now, if someone wants to know what the food inspection rating is for a restaurant, they have to go to the MAPAQ website and try to find it in their database themselves, which could deter many people from doing so.
Once approved, they city will need to decide on how the ratings will work. It will be either ‘as a numerical score, an alphabetical mark, a colour code or some other symbol’ according to Karine Boivin-Roy, Co-leader of Ensemble Montreal. The information would then be posted on Montreal’s website and mobile app as well.
Restaurant violations have been on the rise in Montreal, with stats showing a 43% increase between 2017 and 2018 – a very disconcerting number for many patrons. Still, with over 14,000 restaurants in Montreal and only 31 inspectors to monitor them all, fines paid for violations increased by 52% – from $539,400 to $820,000. In the meantime, several restaurant owners have voiced their concerns about the motion, saying one bad report could cause them irreparable harm – while others welcome the idea openly. How do you feel about it? Would you still go to a restaurant or grocery store you frequent because of a bad rating or would you avoid it all costs?
Feature image: an example of a food-inspection rating in New York City restaurant