More than 3,400 food samples were taken by City of Montreal inspectors in 2016. The top four foods that came back with results that did not conform with safety standards were:
Meat or fish tartare.
Myrta Mantzavrakos, the head of Montreal's food inspection department, said there's not a growing number of unsanitary establishments. She attributes the increase to their filing system catching up with a backlog.
"It doesn't mean that we're opening files more often," said Mantzavrakos. "We had a little delay in when they were filed, now it's being cleared and it has increased all of a sudden."
She added that, now when they open a file, they are treated faster. For example, an inspector will issue a fine immediately while out in the field, which means it will decrease the time before it makes its way through municipal court.
About two per cent of establishments are considered being in a critical or chronic state according to the city's guidelines.
Mantzavrakos said problems in these establishments can range from infestations of vermin, such as rats, cockroaches and mice, to having no appliances working properly.
If found to have such a serious problem, they will be forced to close immediately.
Complaints, reports from customers increased
The number of customers who came forward to report or complain to the city about conditions in an establishment increased in 2016. There were 1999 complaints and 648 reports made last year – an increase of 14 percent compared to 2015.
Mantzavrakos said there are some areas in the city that can be problematic.
"We have neighbourhoods where we have a challenge, sometimes caused by a language barrier, we have trouble getting our message across," she said, pointing to areas like Parc-Extension, Saint-Laurent, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Côte-des-Neiges, Chinatown and Verdun.
"But, in these neighbourhoods, we also have excellent restaurants, impeccable.
Most cited establishments
The 15 establishments with the most citations from the City of Montreal in 2016 are: