How clean are restaurants

How clean are restaurants and bakeries in MV?

Consumers applied for 135 hygiene reports from authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania two weeks after the start of the “Topf Secret” online platform

January 30, 2019

Around two weeks after the start of the “Topf Secret” online platform, consumers requested 135 hygiene reports from the authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In Rostock alone there are 30 applications. This was the result of an evaluation by the platform operators foodwatch and FragDenStaat. At www.topf-secret.foodwatch.de, the results of hygiene controls in restaurants, bakeries and other food companies can be queried and published with just a few clicks. So far, the control authorities in Germany have only made public information about the cleanliness of the companies in exceptional cases. For years, every fourth company inspected has received complaints, mostly due to poor hygiene.

“The run on 'Topf Secret' is huge: The people in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania want to know how hygiene is in their favorite restaurant or in the bakery around the corner. And they have a right to know, ”said Arne Semsrott, FragDenStaat project manager. More than 15,000 applications have already been submitted across Germany via the website. According to the platform operator, the people in Nuremberg were the most curious. There were 46.3 applications per 100,000 inhabitants. Followed by Berlin with 44 applications and Karlsruhe with 43.5 applications per 100,000 inhabitants.

foodwatch and FragDenStaat called on Federal Food Minister Julia Klöckner to create the legal basis for a transparency system such as that in Denmark, Wales or Norway. All the results of the official food monitoring are published there - on the Internet and directly at the shop door.

At “Topf Secret”, consumers can submit an application to the competent authorities for the results of official hygiene controls to be published. The legal basis for this is the Consumer Information Act (VIG), which has existed in Germany since 2008, but is hardly used by consumers. In the two weeks after the online platform was launched, significantly more VIG applications were submitted than in the previous ten years. Users can search for any business on the website - from restaurants to bakeries to petrol stations - using a search function or by clicking on a map. Users only need to enter their name, email address and postal address, which are then sent to the competent authority together with a prepared text. The application is ready within a minute. However, consumers only receive the results after several weeks. It can also happen that authorities are cross.

“‘ Topf Secret ‘is a self-defense measure. In other countries it goes without saying that consumers know the results of the food controls. And directly on site, at the shop door of every restaurant. In Germany, such transparency has so far been successfully prevented by the gastro lobby. We want to change that with 'Topf Secret'! ”Said Oliver Huizinga, Head of Research and Campaigns at foodwatch Germany.

In their new coalition agreement, the Union and the SPD have agreed to ensure “clear and unambiguous consumer information on hygiene and food safety”. However, companies should only publish their control results “on a voluntary basis”. foodwatch and FragDenStaat criticized the fact that experience shows that a voluntary system does not work - as the example of Lower Saxony shows: In two test cities, Hanover and Braunschweig, food companies were able to voluntarily display their control results in the form of a “hygiene barometer” on the shop door. But only four percent of the farms took part in the project, according to the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture.

In Denmark, for example, it is different: Consumers can find out what is happening in food establishments right at the shop door and on the Internet using smiley symbols. A few years after the introduction of the smiley system in 2002, the quota of companies complained about has halved, from 30 to around 15 percent. A transparency system has also been in place in Wales and Norway for several years: there, the number of companies complained about has also fallen significantly after the system was introduced.

In Germany, the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) only publishes anonymised statistics and data on food monitoring. The quota of companies complained about has remained almost unchanged for years at around 25 percent. In 2017, the rate was only 13.6 percent due to a new recording method. As in previous years, this number does not include so-called informal complaints.

Source: foodwatch e.V.

Tags: nutrition (7) restaurant (10)

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