The government of Nova Scotia brought into force some of the most progressive and stringent food safety regulations in Canada this year. “Our province’s new regulations are some of the best in the country,” said Brooke Taylor, Minister of Agriculture. “Some of these requirements are for mandatory food hygiene training for operators of the facility, increased powers for inspectors, and a requirement for operators to document their food safety programs, maintenance, cleanliness, sanitation and contamination control.” Since 2002, the number of consumer complaints of food facilities has dropped by 28 per cent. The number of suspected food poisonings has also been reduced by 26 per cent in that same time frame. “Nova Scotians and visitors to our province should be confident that our provincial food safety inspection is carried out with the utmost respect for human health. To find out information on food establishments we have made our inspection reports easy to access,” said Mr. Taylor. Consumers can get inspection reports on any three different restaurants within one or two days of the request at no cost. The policy is called routine access and has been in place for two years. In a recent national survey looking at how provinces release inspection reports it was found that most provinces provide similar access to inspection reports. Nova Scotians can access inspection reports by contacting [email protected] or by calling 902-424-4560. A mail-in request can be also be directed to Routine Access Designate, 5151 George St., 7th floor, Halifax, N.S., B3J 3C4. “From a public health standpoint the new Public Health Protection Act offers Nova Scotians one of the most effective regulatory environments in Canada,” said Dr. Jeff Scott, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia. “The new food safety regulations are a fine example of the protection Nova Scotians can expect and we will continue to work together to protect public health.” Assessment of food safety in Nova Scotia restaurants is done by food safety specialists. These 20 individuals employed by the Department of Agriculture conduct about 6,500 inspections in 3,700 licensed restaurants throughout the province every year. Food safety specialists are nationally certified public health inspectors, with a food safety professional designation and once passing national examinations they are appointed under the authority of the Health Protection Act. Food safety inspections focus on food preparation and handling, storage, staff hygiene and the cleanliness of the facility. Inspectors are also responsible for responding to consumer complaints, investigations of suspected food borne illnesses and are involved in food product recalls. “Our food safety specialists are highly qualified professionals that determine regulatory compliance based on their observation, measurement of risk and professional judgement,” said Mike Horwich, director of food protection for the Department of Agriculture. “They carry out unannounced inspections, education and training, voluntary closures or immediate food destruction. There is a high degree of regulatory compliance in restaurants and it is achieved for the most part because of education, cooperation and recognition that food safety is an essential component of the business. High profile punitive actions are a last resort.” “Food safety is a shared responsibility between government, industry and the consumer.” said Mr. Taylor. The work of the food safety specialists, as well as the genuine concern about food safety within the industry, has resulted in a continuing improvement of public health protection and food safety.
Nova Scotias Food Safety Regulations Work