Restaurant owners biting their nails as hygiene inspection reports go online


Diners will be able to see which restaurants and cafés have breached hygiene rules from September 1 when the Dutch food standards agency starts publishing its inspections online.

The move is a response to calls by MPs for a more transparent and pro-active safety regime. In the past establishments that failed inspections were not publicly named and could avoid a sanction if they could show via e-mail that they made the required improvements.

From Tuesday the NVWA will publish its inspection reports online within two weeks. The so-called ‘digital re-inspection’ will no longer affect the inspectors’ original judgment, but instead be cited in a separate note.

The catering sector’s branch organisation KHN said it had reservations about the new system, claiming it risked creating an unfair playing field because some establishments are inspected more frequently than others.

‘Owners of catering businesses are responsible day in, day out for food safety and a one-off incident says nothing about their overall approach. They shouldn’t be exposed to publication as soon as something goes wrong once,’ said KHN director Dirk Beljaarts.

‘A re-assessment, after two weeks for instance, would give business owners the space to make the necessary changes and remove themselves from the list.’

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