Thousands of persons will be on the streets of Kingstown celebrating Vincy Mas 2016, and it is at this time they will be more prone to food borne diseases, since more food will be prepared and offered for sale.
With this in mind, the Environmental Health Department within the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment offers some tips to the general public re: safe food handling practices:
- Food stalls MUST be clean and located in a sanitary environment — no garbage, no stray animals, no visible signs of dirt on walls, counter- tops, equipment, inter alia.
- There MUST be running drinking water and soap for washing hands and utensils
- Food handlers MUST be clean: no dirty hands, no dirty fingernails, no dirty clothing, head must be fully covered, no jewelry
- Avoid water and drinks that are not bottled by reputable suppliers. Do not purchase drinks or water in cups, plastic bags or in bottles that have been re-used
- Vendors handling food should AVOID handling money
- All food providers MUST have a valid food handler’s certificate displayed — it is a requirement by law!
- If you are purchasing food from a vendor, ensure that you are aware of nearby toilet facilities for use by the vendor. If you don’t know of any toilet facilities close by DO NOT purchase the food.
- DO NOT eat raw food. Ensure that the foods you eat are either very hot (you should see steam) or very cold. Remember, “warm” foods sold to you can be contaminated with the thousands of bacteria and other germs that thrive at “warm” temperatures.
- If you are taking your own food on your Carnival lime, the same rules apply.
- Ensure that your foods are stored ‘piping hot’ or very cold. All cooked foods, salads, sandwiches and homemade drinks should be eaten within 2-4 hours of preparation.
The general public is assured that Environmental Health Inspectors will visit ALL food stalls and food handling establishments at EVERY Carnival activity to ensure that foods are prepared in a sanitary manner and that only safe food is offered for sale.
Luis de Shong
Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment