A temperature control device used in adjusting the temperature inside of freezers in supermarkets [Photo: people.cn]
Customers at restaurants in Shanghai are now able to watch the kitchen, live, as food is prepared.
Authorities in the city have trialed the use of display screens inside restaurants to live broadcast the happenings inside of kitchens, as part of a project to prioritize food-safety supervision.
The cameras used in the kitchens have temperature control sensors that can trigger an alarm in a remote monitoring room if the temperature of a kitchen does not meet standards.
The data from the cameras is monitored by Shanghai's food and drug administration.
The cameras are connected to facial recognition programs and the administration can also be notified if cooks are not covering their faces with masks.
The screens can also show restaurant's business license, business permit, and staff health certificates.
Diners will be able to leave comments, or even register complaints, via the screens, allowing patrons to participate directly in food-safety supervision.
The project was launched last year and already covers more than 2,000 local restaurants in Shanghai. The plan, long-term, is to monitor all medium-and-large-sized restaurants in the city within the next two or three years. School and corporate canteens will be monitored as well.
Along with live kitchen activity, authorities in Shanghai are also managing restaurants that use "gutter oil," or illegally recycled waste cooking oil that is used at some restaurants in China.
The city is using magnetic strip-cards to collect information on waste oil at restaurants. If the data suggests there are irregularities regarding oil supply or usage, an alarm will be triggered automatically.
Shanghai currently converts gutter oil into biodiesel fuel, which is used to power more than 100 buses in the eastern Chinese city.