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Canada's Restaurant Secrets: Spot the violation

CBC Marketplace investigates restaurant inspections. Can you find the problems?

Last Updated: April 8, 2014

Canadians love eating out: We spend about $2,000 every year per household. And we expect those restaurants to follow the rules so we don't get sick. Now it's your turn to play the public health inspector. Can you find all the major violations that aren't on the menu?

Watch Marketplace's full investigation, Canada's Restaurant Secrets, Friday April 11 at 8:00 p.m. (8:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador) on CBC TV.


USE TABS TO FLIP THROUGH PHOTOS   »   FIND THE VIOLATIONS IN THE IMAGES   »   CLICK / TAP THE SPOTS FOR DETAILS

BAD BUFFET: Every year, almost two million Canadians get food poisoning while dining out. The food here looks delicious, but there are a few choices that you'd be better off skipping, according to Jim Chan, a former public health inspector for Toronto Public Health. What are they?

BAD BUFFET
Every year, almost two million Canadians get food poisoning while dining out. The food here looks delicious, but there are a few choices that you’d be better off skipping, according to Jim Chan, a former public health inspector for Toronto Public Health. What are they?

VIOLATION: Improper temperature
The chicken is on a tray that is not part of the steam table. So it’s not going to be kept at a high enough temperature to avoid foodborne pathogens that may make you sick if it sits out too long. To stay safe, cooked food needs to be held at 60 degrees C or higher.

VIOLATION: Improper presentation
The chicken is also sitting outside the steam table, but there’s another problem: it’s also stacked on the non-steam tray, so it’s likely that pieces underneath will sit for a longer period of time. This increases the risk of foodborne pathogens that could give you serious food poisoning if it’s sitting out for more than an hour.

COLD COMFORT
Ice is a major violation hot spot. In fact, a recent British investigation found that, for many restaurant chains, bacteria levels in ice was higher than in their toilet water. Can you spot the three major violations in this ice station?

VIOLATION: Cross-contamination
This ice scoop shouldn’t be here. Keeping an ice scoop in the ice means that germs can easily be transferred from the server’s hands and end up in your drink.

VIOLATION: Improper food storage
This bottle of syrup should not be stored in the ice. It’s easy to see how any germs on a server’s hands would end up in the ice and present a potentially serious cross-contamination problem.

VIOLATION: Improper design
Beverage ice should be kept in a separate, distinct container that can be fully and frequently cleaned. So these hoses, which help dispense soft drinks (and are probably infrequently cleaned), shouldn’t run through the ice.

KITCHEN CHAOS
Some major violations are easier to spot than others. There are two in this kitchen. Can you find them both?

VIOLATION: General cleanliness
This messy floor is an obvious problem, and any restaurant inspector would definitely consider it a major violation.

VIOLATION: Bad kitchen design
Hard to spot? This food prep station -- where garnishes are put on dishes before they’re sent out to tables -- is much too close to the garbage. It would be easy for bacteria from the garbage and sink to end up in these food containers, and on your plate.