July 20, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Delivery platforms: Look out for unlicensed restaurants

Delivery platforms: Look out for unlicensed restaurants

“Fake restaurant, totally dirty. » Viewer of the show the bill He didn’t go out of his way to describe his disastrous dining experience. Last spring, he ordered a bowl of poke from a restaurant he didn’t know and was listed on Uber Eats called Yummy Sushi. He chose to pick up his order himself instead of opting for delivery.

There he becomes disillusioned. Cluttered basement, smelly and unsanitary. Not exactly ideal conditions for preparing raw fish. Frustrated, he left his meal near the entrance of the building without even opening it, got a refund from Uber Eats and left on an empty stomach.

If you walk past Yummy Sushi, you’d never suspect it’s a restaurant. The Montreal building is located in a residential area.

Photo: Radio-Canada

To verify these alarming allegations, the team the bill Hygiene and food safety trainer Philip decided to call Kotula.

Exercise is easy. We order poke bowls and sushi dishes using the Uber Eats platform, which is one of the three most popular apps right now, along with SkipTheDishes and DoorDash. We opt for the local pickup option, so we can watch the kitchen prepare the impressive menu available online.

Before the main entrance, an arrow directs us to a side door, not far from the backyard, buried in the clutter. Behind the door, a staircase leads to the kitchen. A lady opened the door and greeted us. A young woman engaged in cutting radishes and mangoes and a man assisting the cook.

A woman, a teenage girl and a man prepare sushi in an improvised kitchen.

Delicious Sushi employees prepared our order ignoring many basic health rules.

Photo: Radio-Canada

As explained by Philip Monkeys, we watched the sushi being prepared for 12 minutes before leaving with the dangerous dishes.

It has to be seen to be believed. “Honestly, I’ve never seen it,” he lamented. This is not a suitable environment for sushi processing. I didn’t see hand washing, everyone touched everything. We are in an unsanitary environment and cross contamination is possible.

Unlicensed restaurants

Apart from not respecting basic health rules, Yummy Sushi also does not respect administrative rules. The company does not have a valid permit to sell food in Quebec.

However, while browsing the online ordering applications, there is no indication that the restaurant does not respect the rules in place. Attractive pictures and detailed menu of delicious sushi can easily convince the consumer.

A variety of sushi.

Delicious sushi page on SkipTheDishes app

Photo: Radio-Canada

A team of the bill They returned to the scene to question the restaurant manager. As she left in her vehicle, the cook mentioned to us that she was no longer running the restaurant without further explanation, even though the food was still available on the ordering apps.

It was night and day between what I saw on the website – beautiful photos with beautiful colors and beautiful fish – and what I saw in the kitchen. They are two different worlds.

Besides this sushi restaurant, other unlicensed establishments utilize the showcase provided by mobile applications.

During the preparation of the report, the bill It identified seven people who were previously convicted of operating a restaurant without a license and are still available on the platforms. This model raises a major problem. Customers can unknowingly order meals from restaurants without a permit.

Yummy Sushi page on the Uber Eats app on the iPhone.

The delicious sushi is available on Uber Eats and SkipTheDishes, although the restaurant does not have a valid license.

Photo: Radio-Canada

However, the principle is clear: no permit, no restaurant, confirmed Yohan Dallaire Boily, spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ).

As soon as you sell food in Quebec, from your home or from a restaurant, whether you sell on recognized restaurant platforms or social networks, you need a permitHe assures.

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The importance of license acquires its full meaning when we know it MAPAQ Checks restaurants that have one. Unlicensed establishments go under the radar, if not condemned, adds Yohan Dallaire Boily.

A person who operates a restaurant without a license can be fined between $5,000 and $50,000. We urge him to resolve the situation immediately and if this is not done, we will take legal action.

Platforms are not accountable

For their part, applications are under no obligation to verify whether an establishment holds a valid permit. On the other hand, they have all the flexibility to decide what level of certification they want to keep.

We contacted Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes And Door Dash To get their opinion.

Signs from DoorDash and SkipTheDishes.

Many restaurants offer delivery services through multiple platforms.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Guy LeBlanc

In writing, Uber Eats restaurateurs must agree to the Terms of Use, which requires approvals as required by law. If a merchant is not compliant, they must deactivate their restaurant from the application.

Door Dash Essentially the same method is adopted. So the restaurant must declare that it complies with the local regulations. For that Skip the dishesThe company declined to comment on the matter.

Pierre Trudel, a full professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Montreal, explained that consumers will benefit from the platforms’ increased demand for their partner restaurants.

It is usually the best placed platform to know the identity of companies, better placed than the customer. It ultimately serves as a relay to ensure public safetyHe believes.

Example of hosting platforms

However, it is in this same area that the Quebec government has decided to force the hand of some platforms: accommodation applications like Airbnb.

In May 2023, Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx broke the law by imposing fines of up to $100,000 for broadcasting advertisements that do not respect the law.

Professor Pierre Trudel believes the Quebec government should consider similar rules for other types of platforms.

Among government officials, we have observed this tendency to wait until disaster strikes. A day when someone suffers serious health problems after a meal is delivered is an example of a disaster that can capture the imagination enough to prompt authorities to take action.Professor Trudel said.

“We’re sure to act”

Should we wait for a disaster before requiring platforms to verify permissions, as Pierre Trudel fears? Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food André Lamontagne wants to reassure.

Portrait of Andre Lamontagne.

André Lamontagne, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Photo: Radio-Canada

In an interview, he explained from the beginning that the situation revealed in our report was unacceptable and that his ministry would take care of it.

Acting is sure. The first thing we did was consult the platforms. The first response we got then was a desire for cooperationMinister says.

Every time we identify a blind spot, we address this blind spot, ultimately ensuring that consumers are more protected. He adds.

Until an agreement is reached between the government and the platforms, users can consult the list of restaurants that have permission on the website MAPAQ. You will also find criminal charges targeting food companies.

A few clicks can save you from take-out food poisoning.

Jean-Luc Bouchard’s report aired on the show the bill Tuesday at 7:30pm and Saturday at 12:30pm on ICI Télé.

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