Looking inside the restaurant food inspection world in Squamish

A chat with local environmental health officer Dan Glover

For Dan Glover, perhaps one of the more unpleasant aspects of inspecting restaurants is when sewage backs up into the establishment.

"It's just the type of thing that you are fortunate that you found it in time," said Glover, who is Vancouver Coastal Health's senior environmental health officer for the Sea to Sky area.

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But that kind of scenario is pretty rare, he added.

"Our operators are quite good, the skill level's good, generally speaking there really aren't very many closures that occur in a year. We run into lots of varied situations but in terms of horror shows, there's not that many."

In the Squamish area, there's been about two or three closures in the last year, he said.

"It's really not common, considering the number of inspections that occur," Glover said.

Generally speaking, restaurants are inspected two or three times a year in the Sea to Sky, which is about the same rate as in other areas — frequency doesn't vary depending on the area.

Aside from routine inspections, they can also be triggered by a complaint from a member of the public.

In the case where a closure is made, a restaurant can only be re-opened once it's gone through another inspection and passed.

Sometimes a restaurant can be re-opened in a fairly short amount of time, even if the infractions are critical.

These can be cases where intensive cleaning and equipment repairs are needed, Glover said.

"Sometimes those things that can be addressed relatively quickly. Some cases it does drag on," he said. "We've had closures where there were significant physical problems."

For those curious about how local restaurants are doing, Glover noted Vancouver Coastal Health posts its inspections online.

He also said that people with concerns about an establishment can report it online.

Tips are anonymous.

Go to www.vch.ca/public-health/environmental-health-inspections/restaurant-food-safety to learn more.

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