Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Uncertified food vendors plaguing Hanover

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller

Responding to concerns about the number of itinerant food vendors that are popping up in the towns and villages across Hanover at nights, especially on weekends, the parish health department is now planning strategies to address food-safety concerns.

In her report at a recent general meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC), Patricia Patterson, the chief public health inspector for the parish, noted that the concerns had come to her attention.

The concerns are being raised against the background of the lack of proper garbage-disposal practices of these vendors and its resultant effects. Additionally, there is also unease over whether the vendors possess the necessary food handler's permit.

In responding to the situation, Patterson said that the Hanover Health Department was moving urgently to get persons handling food in the parish to be properly certified with a view to preventing any food-borne disease or contaminated food being passed on to the public.

"The operations of some 81 per cent of the tourist establishments in the parish were duly checked and certified, while 54 per cent of the food establishments were certified by the Public Health Department," explained Patterson in outlining the status of their food-safety strategies.

When questioned about the influx of nightly itinerant food vendors in the parish by officials of the HMC, Patterson admitted that it was not known how many of the vendors had a valid food handler's permit. She said that checks would be made to get the requested information.

"We have not been doing any night inspections, but we intend to start that," said Patterson. "We are having food-handler's training for persons who are not certified."

According to Patterson, during August, 37 food-handler's training sessions, which were open to all persons seeking to be certified, were held.

Patterson also noted that the two authorised animal-slaughter facilities in the parish were being monitored on a regular basis.