12 Manitoba eateries closed this summer for health code violations

Manitoba Health has published its latest round of restaurant closures, listing a dozen closures this summer.

Restaurants contribute to almost half of recorded foodborne illness outbreaks, expert says

A dozen restaurants were temporarily closed due to health violations between June 1 and the end of August in Manitoba. (CBC)

Manitoba Health has published its latest round of restaurant closures and it shows that 12 food service establishments in the province, ranging from well-known establishments to smaller bistros were ordered to be temporarily closed between June 1 and the end of August. 

Causes for closure range from the presence of rodents to general unsanitary conditions. View the full list of closures at the bottom of the page. 

Winnipeg's Deseo Bistro was closed on Aug. 25 due to "numerous critical violations" which included plumbing problems, an "inability to dish wash", potentially hazardous foods being stored at the wrong temperature, and "poor general sanitation." There is no expected reopening date listed. 

The Chicken Chef at 365 Main St. in Steinbach, Man. was another one on the list. Under the comments section as to why it was closed, it said, "Over a dozen violations. Many of which were critical violations. Food safety was not being made a priority." That establishment was ordered to close from July 23 to 24.

Food safety expert

"I think it's cause for significant concern. Restaurants contribute to almost half of the recorded food-born illness outbreaks [in North America] that we know about. So it's not insubstantial," said Rick Holley, a professor in the department of food science at the University of Manitoba.

Holley said some of the violations are far outside the realm of what can be reasonably explained, and that those working in the food service industry should know better. 

As for the bad publicity that comes with the health department publicly releasing the information, Holley said it's perfectly appropriate. 
Rick Holley is a food safety expert at the University of Manitoba. (CBC)

"You have repeat offenders and where the problems are not necessarily life threatening directly, fines can be assessed for repeat offenders. And closures are the result of the kinds of deficiencies that could clearly cause illness or death in some patrons," Holley said.  

It is important for restaurant owners and employees to recognize their potential impact on the public, Holley said. 

The main reason Holley sees for restaurants to cut corners is financial constraints. Often the number of staff is slashed to save money, which means restaurants don't have the appropriate staff on to ensure food is handled safely.

"I think that's probably a major factor that affects business culture at every level in the very large operations, as well as the very small ones, and that's really unfortunate," Holley said. 

Holley advises consumers to check the full list and consider taking those establishments off their list of usual stops. 

"Generally speaking closures are more serious, in as much that you have a more major failure. [For example] water is being used that's not from an approved source, it's not hot enough, the dishwasher doesn't operate properly, there's something wrong with the plumbing, general sanitation is really poor. Why would you want to go to a place like that?"


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