Food safety a priority for Ministry of Health approaching the festive season

Food Vendors attending the Food Safety training at the Gouyave Fish market conference room

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Gouyave Improvement Committee is ensuring that food handlers in St John and St Mark are trained and certified
  • Food handlers commenced 9-module training in collaboration with the Ministry of Health

Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and diarrhoea are common clinical outcomes of foodborne illness, which pose significant public-health problems. As a result, it is a legal requirement that all food handlers are trained in food safety to prevent and control the occurrences of foodborne illnesses.

The Gouyave Improvement Committee is taking food safety seriously around the Fisherman’s Birthday Celebrations by ensuring that food handlers in St John and St Mark are trained and certified.

Food handlers on Tuesday commenced the 9-module training which covers areas such as Personal Hygiene, Purchasing, Receiving, Safe Food Storage Practices, Safe Reheating Thawing and Freezing, Cleaning and Sanitation, Vector Control, Food Safety Legislation and Introduction to Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).

This training is being conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and takes place at the Gouyave Fish Market conference room and will conclude on Thursday, 21 June 2018. District Environment Health Officer Denny Cronneit says the training is being well received by participants. “From the workshop, we can say that some of the food handlers are not quite there as yet but are willing to learn; and by the interaction in the training we can see that some of them are practicing poor hygiene. Some of them are not storing their utensils properly, some again on another hand are learning new ways of preparing and storing foods to prevent cross-contamination.”

District Environment Health Officer – Denny Cronneit

Cronneit says although there are some gaps to be filled, general compliance from food vendors is a welcoming sign that the training is yielding results. “Last year we held a workshop with the ‘Come Taste We Hand’ street vendors who take part in the competition leading up to Fisherman’s Birthday and from my observations in the St John district I can testify that food handlers are living up to standards, although there are those who are lacking in certain areas.”

Street food vendor Akesisha Walker says she sought the training to improve on her standards of food preparation after first-hand experiencing food poisoning. “As we are going into the festive season, we have a lot of people who rush to prepare food for patrons to eat and at the end of the festive season it affects a lot of people. From my own experience I got food poisoning from street vendors already and I would not like that to happen to some else.”

Street food vendor – Akesisha Walker

Street food vendor Kevon Samuel has been in the business of food handling for the past 2 years. he says the workshop was quite enlightening. “The workshop is very beneficial because it helps us put the basic hygiene principles into practice in our establishment and within our homes, so I believe the ministry is doing a great job.”

Kevon Samuel – Street food vendor

Food handlers are reminded that their medical certificate should be renewed every 6 months and every year they should renew their food barge.

The Food and Drug Act states it is an offence to sell harmful, unfit, adulterated or insanitary food, and that a person who sells an article of food which was manufactured, prepared, preserved, packaged or stored under insanitary conditions, is guilty of an offence. In addition person who manufactures, prepares, preserves, packages, or stores for sale any food under insanitary conditions is guilty of an offence.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released its first global estimates of foodborne disease which indicated that about 1 in every 10 people globally is affected by foodborne diseases each year. Of those 600 million people 420,000 die as a result.

Food Safety manual used by the Ministry of Health

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