For the really BAD restaurants…

While I try to review mainly restaurants that I have enjoyed here in Montreal, sometimes there are some bad apples. I’ve written about a couple of them as warnings, especially since I had tried these places without anyone’s recommendation. Going blind can sometimes have disastrous results, as you may have read in my Pourquoi Pas? review. I would definitely NOT recommend that anyone eat there.

Indeed, some of the bad reviews double as health hazards, and that’s when I recommend filing a complaint with an official health inspector. The City of Montreal does investigate all of the complaints filed with their Food Inspection office, and they’ve even got a handy-dandy web form to make filing complaints that much easier. I’ve chosen to add it to my list of links, as sometimes I really feel it is necessary to make these types of complaints.

Please keep in mind that this link is NOT for use if you are merely disappointed in a restaurant’s service, or are disgruntled with staff members, or other things like that. The web form is solely for food safety concerns, the type where eating at a restaurant nearly kills you—or at the very least makes the rest of your day quite unpleasant due to food poisoning, poor hygiene, cleanliness issues, or anything else that makes dining there unsafe.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, and if you’ve had a bad experience with a restaurant, you should try to contact staff members first in order to voice your concerns. If, however, there is a real need, know that the link exists.

UPDATED MAY 22, 2009, 11:54 AM: I had sent in a complaint myself, just yesterday, regarding the Pourquoi Pas? incident to see what the process was like, although since it happened way back in December, I wasn’t sure what they would do about it. As it turns out, this complaint was read by the health inspectors, but it’s too old to act upon at this point. Here’s a snippet from the email I received back from Marie-Brigitte Quesnel, a supervisor at the Inspection des aliments here in Montreal:

[T]he inspector has been advised of your observations and will pay particular attention to these when she goes to the establishment during the course of her regularly scheduled inspection.

Please note that you should call 514-280-4300 [emphasis mine] or e-mail our department as soon as possible after an incident should you ever have reason to complain about a food establishment again. That way, an inspector can be dispatched to said establishment very soon to indicate to the owner than a complaint was made, to verify the validity of the complaint, and to correct bad habits of food handlers if need be. Be assured that all complaints are treated confidentially and your name will never be disclosed. Futhermore, should you choose to e-mail instead of calling us, please give us a phone number where you could be reached by the inspector should he or she have questions regarding certain details of your complaint.

So, if you do have legitimate health complaints about a restaurant, you should call that number as soon as possible, and they’ll investigate. News you can use!

P.S. Please do NOT post your reports on health infractions in the comments section of this blog. I have no affiliation with the health inspectors, and certainly cannot be responsible for allowing people to publish potentially libelous material about specific restaurants. If you’ve got health infractions to report, please use the link or phone number I’ve supplied above. Also, if you’re curious about individual restaurants and want to see if they’ve received fines for health infractions, please check out the list of fines on the Inspection des aliments website (only available in French). Thanks!

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