Over 450 Dutch restaurants under supervision for failing hygiene, food safety standards

In 2017 a total of 456 restaurants were placed under extra supervision by the Dutch food and consumer product safety authority NVWA because they were not adhering to the rules on hygiene and food safety. That's over 120 more than in 2014, RTL Nieuws reports based on its own research into NVWA inspection reports.

Find out which suspect restaurants are in your neighborhood (in Dutch).

These businesses received at least three fines in two years, or were closed by the regulator for posing a risk to public health. 

Vermin like mice and cockroaches were found in nearly half of the restaurants that are under stricter supervision. Four in ten of the restaurants were fined for food safety - the NVWA found too high concentrations of harmful bacteria in their products during regular testing, or the products were not stored at the right temperature to prevent spoiling. Virtually all the restaurants had poor hygiene - inspectors found dirt or mold in the kitchen or ice maker, for example. 

The NVWA temporarily closed 168 restaurants. These were restaurants who were caught violating rules at least twice after three previous warnings. The restaurants can only be opened again if all rules are adhered to. The NVWA used its most serious measure - emergency closure - on 27 restaurants. This is when the regulator closes a restaurant with immediate effect, because it poses a serious risk to public health. 

The NVWA partly attributes the increase in restaurants under strict supervision to the fact that the regulator now has a better view on problem establishments. "In recent years we have changed our way of working so that we now have a much better view of what the bad restaurants are and what the good ones are. As a result, we no longer have to visit the good restaurants and therefore see much more about the bad ones", spokesperson Benno Bruggink said to RTL. The regulator also became stricter. "We are no longer flexible. We intervene when necessary and we place companies under stricter supervision."

RTL Nieuws examined the inspection reports of 447 restaurants that were placed under stricter supervision in 2017. The broadcaster requested these documents by appealing to the government information act in January 2018. It therefore took more than a year for the documents to be released, RTL writes. The broadcaster also did not get all the documents it requested - nine restaurants are trying to prevent the disclosure of the reports in court, and the NVWA decided not to release photos.

You can find out which restaurants in your area are under stricter supervision here