Restaurant Inspection Frequency and Food Safety Compliance

Although food premises are regularly inspected, little information is available on the effect of inspections on compliance records, particularly with respect to the impact of the frequency of inspection on compliance. The following presents the outcome of a study designed to assess the impact of increased inspection frequency on compliance measures in Hamilton, Ontario, in the absence of any other changes to food handler/safety programs or legislation. High-risk food inspection premises were randomly assigned three, four, or five inspections per year. Results indicate that no statistical difference existed in outcome measures based on frequency of inspection. When premises were grouped based on the average time between inspections, premises with greater time between inspections scored better compliance measures relative to premises that were inspected more frequently. The study was also unique for the level of consultation and collaboration sought from the public health inspectors (PHIs) assigned to the Food Safety Program. Their knowledge and experience with respect to the critical variables associated with compliance were a complementary component to the literature review conducted by the research team.

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