The Environmental Health Department is calling on vendors to make food safety a priority for this year’s 40th Anniversary of Independence celebrations, especially during major events such as World Creole Music Festival and Kwéyòl Wandévou.
The call came from Health Officer from the Environmental Health Department Calma Louis.
She said during such events, the goal is to minimize the risk of food-borne diseases.
“Throughout this event, our main goal will be to prevent or minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses and maximize safety of participants, spectators, visitors, event staff, volunteers and the population in general,” she said.
She pointed out that the Environmental Health Department has a pivotal role in ensuring that all foods sold to the public are safe and sanitary.
“We will also be inspecting food stalls and some of them would be that of the Dominica Festivals Committee’s as well,” Louis stated.
“We will be doing the artiste booth, the media booth…”
Louis mentioned also that the food vendors will be monitored from time-to-time and ask for cooperation from them.
“Over the years we have had some hostility being given to the Environmental Health Officers when they are performing their duties,” she noted. “We ask for your cooperation this year as we ensure that our visitors and our patrons who have here do not come down with any food-borne illness.”
Louis went on to say that food safety is everyone’s responsibility.
“It is the responsibility of the patrons, it is the responsibility of the vendor and therefore the vendor has the most important role to play during the vending of food for the World Creole Music Festival,” Louis indicated. “We want to ensure that our vendors comply with the requirements set by the Environmental Health Department.”
She advised vendors that they should ensure that they have hot holdings to provide safe foods or hot foods and adequate storage for frozen food and raw meat items whether they are seasoned. She said meats should be held in a cooler with ice.
“The ice used to store drinks should not be used for serving drinks,” Louis warned.
She encouraged vendors to practice correct hand hygiene.
“Your hands are to be washed all the time,” she advised. “Employees are properly attired, your white apron, no long fingernails, no polished nails…”
Louis mentioned also that employees must have valid food handlers permit displayed at all times and they should have a temporary food certificate issued by the Environmental Health Department for Kwéyòl Wandévou.
She revealed that over the years there has been an improvement in the organization of the event within the food stalls, therefore the Environmental Health Department applauds those who really contributed in making that happen.