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January 17, 2012

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Eatery hygiene ratings to go online

DINERS will soon be able to go online to check whether a trip to a city restaurant is likely to result in a delicious meal, or a case of food poisoning.

Officials from the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that an online database containing the results of hygiene and food safety inspections will go live this year.

Once the Chinese language database - including reports on all licensed city restaurants - is running smoothly, it will be followed by an English version, said local FDA officials.

There are more than licensed 61,000 restaurants in the city, and all are graded on hygiene and food safety management by the FDA.

Each restaurant is required to display a sign with the inspection results in a prominent place on the premises, with a smiley face for good hygiene, a neutral expression for average standards and a sad face for poor hygiene.

"To convenience residents, we plan to have an online database of results, instead of just hanging up a sign, said Du Bing from Shanghai FDA. "This means people can make a decision on which restaurant to visit beforehand."

Du said the database is expected to be available on the official Shanghai FDA and Shanghai Food Safety Office websites later this year.

Additional information about food safety and warnings on food poisoning will also be put online this year to improve public awareness, officials said.

Big restaurants, cafeterias and producers of lunch boxes will be the major targets of monitoring this year.


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