Inspect the booths

Some mobile food booths are more sanitary than others

As witnessed by the more than 200 people who fell ill, including 79 cases of confirmed food poisoning, at the 2013 Toronto CNE this August, food safety at temporary events and exhibitions is a very real concern.

While travelling in Bolivia a few years ago I was warned not to eat food offered by street vendors.  Fair enough, but this is Canada.

Our food safety regulations and monitoring systems are first world, not third. Aren’t they?

We have had some major hiccups of late: Mad Cow in 2003, Maple Leaf Foods in 2008 and XL Foods last year.  But those are other stories.

On Vancouver Island we have the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) to protect us, or rather, as their website states “to prevent food borne illnesses through safe food management.”

This is achieved primarily through the inspection of restaurants, pubs and lounges, hospitals and care facilities, food carts and coffee outlets, delis and bakeries, grocery stores and more, including temporary events where food is sold.

There is a list of inspections performed by VIHA on the North and Central Island, since 2005, available online at:

This resource is comprehensive: organized by city and/or community.

You can view the inspection results of your favourite restaurant or local corner store.

What you will not find however, are the results of any food  inspections conducted at the hundreds of temporary events, fairs, street markets, festivals and so on that take place on Vancouver Island year in and year out.

All food vendors are required to submit an application to VIHA prior to each temporary event.  Without this application participation is prohibited.

This is all well and good but where are the inspections?

The Toronto illnesses may have been prevented by proactive testing. There is a lesson to be learned from our own mistakes, better still from others.

Peter MacLeod





Just Posted

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

More Parksville pop-up water parks planned

Fire department says Sunday, Aug. 18 next one on the agenda

Hi Neighbour Day celebrates 50th year in Errington

Pancake breakfast, parade, zucchini race and more planned for this years’ festivities

Semi-truck crashes on Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Drivers heading in or out of Tofino-Ucluelet Friday afternoon should expect delays

Errington scrap wood fire still under investigation

Three fire departments deployed to battle highly visible blaze

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Portland, Oregon, awaits right-wing rally, counter protests

Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for felony rioting

Kraft Heinz brand baby food recalled in B.C. due to possibility of insects

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the product should not be consumed

Most Read