Food-storage monitoring programme to be introduced... in schools, hospitals, penal institutions
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
THE WESTERN office of the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce will be rolling out a programme to monitor schools, hospitals and penal institutions in the region.
The programme, which will be on stream in another two weeks, comes on the heels of the forced closure of Calabar High School, Red Hills Road, Kingston, last week because of rat infestation.
However, Owen Scarlett, senior food-storage inspector for the western region of FSPID, said the initiative was not spurred by the incident at Calabar, but had been planned since January this year.
"We will roll out a programme of monitoring of institutions starting with schools and then hospitals and penal institutions," said Scarlett. "We had begun a programme of very limited testing in 2007 when the office was reintroduced, but it will be seriously expanded now."
Scarlett said school cafeterias will be the main focus, but emphasis will also be placed on garbage storage and disposal.
"We want to ensure that the programme is comprehensive, so we are not going to leaving anything to chance. Thorough checks will be done and recommendations given where and when necessary," said Scarlett.
Devon Ruddock, the director of the Ministry of Education's Region Four, said the ministry has not had any reports of rodent infestation in any school in the region, but he would welcome the FSPID's monitoring and assessment programme.
"We have not had any reports of infestation in any of our schools in our parishes. We await the contact from the FSPID, whose work we believe would complement the health department's monitoring and assessment efforts," said Ruddock.
Medical officer of health for St James, Dr Diahann Dale, said the St James Health Services has a responsibility to monitor, assess and advise administrators as to corrective measures which need to be taken, as well as to do follow-up in keeping with all aspects of the Public Health Act.