Food handler’s certificate now costs $5000

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–specialised training also on the cards

TOWN Clerk Royston King on Friday announced that the Food Handlers’ Certificate will now be raised from $3000 to $5000.  “We will commence registration of food handlers from Monday, January 15, 2018,” he said. “Operational costs have influenced the council to increase the fee,” he told reporters Friday at a City Hall press conference.

All fees must be paid to the City Treasurer’s Department, he said, and later, the city will be introducing special training for food and beverage managers. Upon completion of their training, they will be issued with a different certificate from the one given to regular food handlers, he said.

“Again, our technical health team will be visiting and registering all food and beverage manufacturers operating in the city. We have already written to those concerned and asked for their cooperation,” King said.    However, he said the City Council is “very troubled” by certain practices of those who are working in this sector.

A few of the concerns are poor storage of foods and beverages, unlabelled packages and bottles with things for human consumption, insanitary preparation areas, kitchens, close proximity of washrooms to preparation areas, violation of dress code by food handlers and the general physical condition of some eating houses and provision shops.

“You would never believe some of the things our public health inspectors see in the course of their duties,” King remarked.  Acting Chief Meat and Food Inspector Onica Alleyne, who also sat in on the press briefing, offered that during their regular visits and inspections, officers continue to notice that bread, sausage, cheese and eggs are not being stored properly.

Speaking about coconut-vending in particular, Alleyne said it would be ideal for customers to walk with their own bottles when purchasing cocunut water, since there is no standard process by which the vendors sanitise their bottles.  Alleyne also spoke about the way vendors cut and sell fruits on the streets. “The minute the fruits are peeled, they are exposed to contamination. Where do they get water to wash the fruits? And what about those sold at the roadside where traffic is moving?”