As we enter the Christmas Season 2023, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, particularly the Public Health Department is encouraging the general public to work together with the department as we strive to prevent, detect and manage food borne diseases and risks, in an effort to maintain and improve our health.
For 2023, the theme “Safer Food, Better Health” is adopted to encourage persons to practice safer food habits that will result in better health. It is important to note that safe food is an essential guarantor for good health and wellbeing. Some definitive benefits of safe food include improved nutrition and health, reduced absenteeism in schools and workplaces and ultimately an improvement in health and wellbeing.
Considering that there are multiple stakeholders who engage in food servicing at this time, the Public Health Department is asking that these five (5) key food safety measures be observed and practiced. These include:
• The use of safe water and raw materials;
• Separating raw foods from cooked food;
• Cooking food thoroughly;
• Keeping food at safe temperatures; and
• Keeping the surroundings and food contact surfaces clean.
Butchers and slaughter-men are reminded that slaughtering of animals should be done under hygienic conditions approved by the Public Health Department. Meat offered for sale should be stored in a manner that protects it from the elements of the weather and against contamination such as flies and dust.
All slaughter-men and butchers must ensure that they have a valid Food Handlers' Certificate. And, during this Christmas season; meat inspections will be conducted between the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
A further appeal is extended to food businesses, inclusive of butchering and slaughtering service providers, to comply with the Department’s food safety guidelines and engage employees, suppliers and other stakeholders to develop and a culture of practicing good food safety and hygiene habits.
In an effort to support this food safety and hygienic initiative, the Public Health Department will be deploying inspectors throughout the state to provide meat and other food inspection services. As a result, we are kindly requesting your usual support and corporation as we continue to work together towards providing Safer Food for Better Health.
SOURCE: Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment