Environmental Health Department celebrates Food safety week

PRESS RELEASE: The Environmental Health Department in collaboration with other partners will be hosting a Food Safety week from the 15 – 19th March, 2010 under the theme; “Your food, your health, your life, your responsibility”.

The main objecives of the week is to
1. Create public awareness on issues of food safety
2.Increase/ improve collboration among food safety agencies.

Food safety is one of the major areas of environmental health responsibility and include

1. The reduction in the incidence of food borne disease through monitoring and surveillance
2.The empowerment of communities and individuals through community education
3. Establishment of guidelines for the safe conduct of the food trade.

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1 Comment

  1. Vieille Case Itassian
    March 11, 2010

    While I commend the Department for such an initiative, I believe it is time that the Department impresses upon the powers that be, the need to enforce all the Food Safety Laws that have been passed yet remain only on the books.

    The department still “begs” food establishents to get the minimum requirements for food service establishments. Too many food establishments in Dominica are lacking in structural integrity and food safety standards. People still prepare food in small rundown shacks, on road side and many times they are without running water, the basic necessity for good food hygiene and sanitation. Many of them do not have available, suitable hand wash sinks and utensil wash sinks. People still continue to use reusable (cloth) towels (probably the most unsanitary and nastiest element in a food establishment) for hand wiping.Even some of the large restaurants around the island still do not have hot water on their premises. I could go on listing many more of the requirements for food service establishments that are not being met but I might run out os time and space.

    I think the Department needs to come up with a more rigorous food safety and inspection system that includes demerits for violations and the issuance of fixed penalty tickets for violations especially those that can lead to food borne illness. In addition, those food establishments that do not meet the minimum requirements for food service establishments must be given deadlines for upgrading and subsequently fined and or shut down if they do not comply.

    One other recommendation would be for the Department to establish a Food Establishment Information System that allows the public to have access to the inspection reports of the food establishments so that people have an idea of the level of sanitation and hygiene of the food establishments where they eat or plan to eat.

    Finally the Department must adopt a licensing system for food esatblishments. In such a system all persons wanting to open a food service establishment should have to apally for a license to operate and any granting of a permit must be dependent upon meeting certain standards or requirements determined by the Food safety Regulations.

    Unless some of those recommendations are (not only considered but) pursued, officers of the department will only be running around in circles and realizing no improvements in food safety and sanitationmerely because they have teeth but they cannot bite.

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