Public and vendors advised on food safety as Carnival season approaches

Calma Louis

The Environmental Health Department continues to stress the importance of safe food handling during this year’s Carnival celebrations.  The department is mandated by law to conduct food safety activities and this year is pleased to partner with the organizers of Mas Domnik 2024 to carry out the mandate and ensure the success of this grand event.

“Throughout the event, our main goal will be to prevent or minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses and maximize safety of the participants, spectators, event staff, and volunteers, monitor both liquid and solid waste activities, and inspection of food stalls to include street vendors, especially since vending will be conducted outside of the normal place of operation,” Representative from the Environmental Health Department, Calma Louis said while addressing a Carnival press conference this week.

According to her, food vendors are subjected to monitoring at all times and therefore, the Environmental Health Department is seeking the full cooperation of all vendors during this event.

“We would like to stress the importance of safe food handling, because improper food handling contributes significantly to the potential for food-borne disease outbreaks,” Louis explained.

She reminded everyone that food-borne diseases can have very widespread effects and can lead to death.

Furthermore, she stated that although the Environmental Health Department has a pivotal role in ensuring that all food offered for sale is safe, food safety is everyone’s responsibility.

“Vendors at this year’s Real Mas event have an even greater responsibility in preparing, storing, and presenting quality food in a safe and sanitary manner,” Louis noted. “Vendors should ensure they comply with the requirements of the Environment Health Department.”

She  added, “You are to have your concession warmers and they are to be used for hot foods.”

She went on to state that adequate food storage is provided for frozen food and raw meat items.

“Seasoned chicken and meat items should be held in separate containers with ice,” Louis advised. “Please note, ice used for storage of drinks should not be used for serving drinks.”

She also advised that washing stations should be equipped with disposable paper towels and liquid hand soap.

“Adequate utensils for proper handling of food…,” Louis advised. “Proper hand hygiene is practiced for all staff.”

All staff should also be properly attired, hair should be secured with a hairnet and clean aprons should be worn.

Louis warns that vendors should avoid having long fingernails, sleeveless tops, or push-toes.

She said a valid food handlers permit is also required.

“All current food handlers should be visible at the workstation,” Louis said.

She also shared some tips for patrons and consumers when purchasing foods during the Carnival season.

“Look out for the food handlers who are properly attired, the food handlers whose ID is displayed and ensure that it is up-to-date, lookout for food handlers who maintain proper temperatures of their food,” she advised.

Meanwhile, Louis said in support of this event the department has organized an additional food handlers’ session for all vendors at the Public Service Union (PSU) Building.

“This will be held on Monday 29th January at 4:30 pm, Wednesday 31st January at 9:00 am, Monday 5th February at 9:00 am and Wednesday 7th February at 4:30 pm,” she revealed.

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