Food premises inspection system in the works for SD&G

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health, makes a presentation Sept. 28, 2015 to Cornwall City Council. The doctor is trying to get municipalities on side in order to enact a carding system for food premises. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

SD&G – The top doctor in SD&G is asking the City of Cornwall to come on side with a new program to protect diners in the region.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, outlined the carding system for restaurants during Monday night’s city council meeting.

Under the plan, the eateries would display colour-coded placards – green for pass, yellow for conditional pass and red for closed. It would also apply for any food premises, like grocery stores and hot dog stands.

It would be based on a 43-point checklist after a review by a public health inspector.

But in order to put the system in place, the health unit needs the municipal laws in place in order to require businesses to post the signs.

“We don’t have the power at the moment from the HPPA (Health Protection and Promotion Act),” Dr. Roumeliotis said.

“We would be leading the way at least in Ontario,” the doctor said.

The health unit has an inspection system in place already but Dr. Roumeliotis said people who don’t have internet are at a disadvantage of getting the information.

Many councillors spoke in support of the plan, which will include all food premises, including grocery stores.

Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy was also concerned about the turnaround time for re-inspections if a restaurant is given a yellow card (or conditional pass).

The proposed bylaw changes have been referred to administration for a report at an upcoming council meeting.

Cornwall will be a template for similar bylaws in SD&G and Prescott-Russell.

The proposed bylaws will most likely come up for consideration next month.

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