Some 172 Dutch restaurants shamed for filthy conditions

Picture: Wikimedia Commons / SavelevavvPicture: Wikimedia Commons / Savelevavv

Last year the NVWA fined 172 restaurants in the Netherlands for breaking hygiene and food safety rules more than once. For the first time ever the NVWA published the names of the restaurants, and RTL Nieuws compiled it into an interactive map so consumers can see which of the restaurants are in their neighborhood.

As this involves data from 2015, it is possible that some restaurants may now meet all requirements or that there's been a change in management. But the NVWA decided it's more important to inform consumers of food safety issues than to protect restaurants from damage caused by disclosure.

Many restaurants were fined for mild violations, such as not having the correct stickers on stored food or having a loose tile in the kitchen. But other restaurants had much bigger problems, like one in which the drains were clogged and sewage ended up in a storage space, at another meat was marinating in spoiled marinade and at yet another inspectors found live cockroaches on the kitchen counter.

Watchdog Foodwatch is happy that the NVWA released the names of involved restaurants and advocates that such inspection results must be made public immediately. "As a consumer you must have the assurance that the place you are going to eat follows all the rules", Jurjen de Waal of Foodwatch said to RTL Nieuws. "In addition, such a publication has an preventative effect. Companies are more likely to follow the rules if they know that every infringement is immediately made public."

Hospitality association KHN is against the publication. The association believes that the NVWA must close dirty restaurants faster. But fears unfair competition if a restaurant's fine is published while the NVWA has not visited another, even dirtier, one.