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Restaurant inspections end in warning letters over licences

Valid operating licences are now being enforced in P.E.I. food establishments. - Contributed
Valid operating licences are now being enforced in P.E.I. food establishments. - Contributed

Nine food establishments on P.E.I. received warning letters in June by provincial health inspectors for operating without a valid licence.

Inspectors are on the road throughout the year making sure these establishments not only have a valid operating licence but to also make sure things are clean, food is being served at proper temperatures and that they are operating within the parameters of the Public Health Act.

Businesses that received warning letters over the licence issue include Brakish Eastcoast Dock Side Dining on lower Water Street in Charlottetown, D.A.R.Y.L’s General Store on Kent Street in Charlottetown, Downtown Convenience Store on Queen Street in Charlottetown, Hunter Duvar House in O’Leary, Jennifer’s Food Service at the ferry terminal in Wood Islands, MacKenzie’s Grocery in Harrington, Orwell Corner Tea Room in Orwell, PHO Vietnam Restaurant on Queen Street in Charlottetown and Wind & Reef Restaurant in North Cape.

All establishments have either since applied for a new licence or renewed their operating licences.

Kelly Hughes, a senior environmental health officer with the Department of Health and Wellness, said it’s unusual to see so many food establishments receive warning letters for operating licences at this time of year.

“At this point in the year we shouldn’t be seeing quite so many,’’ Hughes said Friday. “I do want to stress that we’re four months into the new licensing year, so operators should be checking and making sure that their licence has been renewed if it hasn’t been already.’’

Hughes pointed out that a lot of seasonal establishments have just opened so that may be one of the reasons why there were so many.

Orwell Corner Tea Room was also flagged for other items besides the licensing issue.

Inspectors noted that the business hadn’t yet provided a mandatory water sample, which each food establishment has to do at least once every 12 months.

It was also noted that the establishment had failed to provide food safety training.

Inspectors haven’t had a chance to re-inspect the tea room for the water sample and food safety training issues as of yet to see if they’ve been rectified, so it’s important to note that the business only received a warning letter for the licence issue.

PHO Vietnam Restaurant also had violations noted besides the licence issue.

Violations noted as of June 1 included failure to provide a no-rinse, food grade, chemical sanitizing solution at the appropriate concentration, failure to properly label chemicals, failure to provide appropriate temperature measuring devices that are accurate and in good working order to ensure proper food safety temperatures and failure to provide an appropriate procedure to verify sanitizer strength. However, on a follow-up visit on June 8, inspectors noted that all of those issues had been corrected and no warning letter was issued, other than for the licence issue.

Need to know

Levels of enforcement

Initial inspection: Health inspectors will visit a business and if any violations are noted, the business is given a follow-up inspection before a warning letter is issued. However, a warning letter is issued automatically for businesses that haven’t renewed their operating licence

Warning letter: This is the first step in a graduated list of enforcement

Notice of intent to issue a health order: This is issued if a warning letter has been issued and, on followup inspection, the issue(s) still haven’t been corrected

Health order: This is the final and most serious step and gives health inspectors the authority to shut down a business

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