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AI keeps China city’s kitchens clean

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SHAOXING — A city in East China is using artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically identify and take snapshots of unsanitary operations by restaurant staff and report them to the owners.

Shaoxing, East China’s Zhejiang Province, has introduced a kitchen monitoring and management system based on AI and cloud technologies in 15 restaurants and catering companies that are 3,000 square meters or larger.

The system can also be connected to kitchen equipment.

The system will first “learn” from a large volume of videos about nonstandard work patterns such as staff not wearing a uniform and cap, dustbins without lids, and mixed use of cutting boards, Zheng Hongdi, a representative of Yuquan Technology Development Company which developed the system, told the Global Times.

A camera will catch such nonstandard behavior and the artificial intelligence system will recognize it and report it to the restaurant’s manager via a phone app, Zheng said.

The system can also be connected to kitchen equipment such as refrigerators and disinfection cabinet and report a problem if they are not in proper working order, said Zheng.

Zhou Feng, an employee from Shaoxing’s Market supervision administration, told the Global Times that “restaurant owners welcome the system which helps them monitor the sanitation of kitchens.”

The Shaoxing government cooperated with Zheng’s Hangzhou-based company in 2018 to develop the system that will eventually incorporate 10,000 surveillance cameras in some 1,000 kitchens in the city, Zhou said.

A trial of 87 eateries of varying size was launched in July 2018.

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