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Consumers play a vital role in endorsing vendors who practice good hygiene and prioritise food safety. Patrons have a personal responsibility to observe vendor practices to ensure they consume food prepared in accordance with the Public Health (Food Handling) Regulations, 1998.
Persons involved in the handling of food for public consumption must acquire a:
- Valid Food Handler’s Permit – the parish health departments will issue the permit to applicants on behalf of the regional health authorities, after training and testing on principles of hygiene and sanitation are successfully completed.
- Valid Food Establishment Licence – this permit is issued to operators of food establishments by the regional health authorities and must be displayed conspicuously on the premises where food is being sold.
- Public Health Act (Food Handling) Certification – this is granted by the regional health authorities after satisfactory inspection of a food-handling establishment and must be displayed conspicuously on the premises where food is being sold.
Although licences may exist, operators may still neglect to follow the rules. The regional health authorities can help consumers to verify fitness of food-handling establishments to determine if the food being stored, prepared and sold is fit for human consumption.
The Municipal Corporation in each parish has established designated vending zones, such as markets, where vendors who are registered with the corporation are permitted to operate. These zones are outfitted with toilets, adequate handwashing facilities and potable running water to conform with public health and safety standards.
Section 11 (1) of the Public Health (Food Handling) Regulations state that no person shall store, sell or offer for sale any food in any open area or hawk or peddle food on any road, unless such food is protected from animals, flies or dust in a clean and sanitary container suitable for the purpose.
Unsafe practices such as improper handling of food should be reported to the regional health authorities of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
For additional information, contact:
The Ministry of Health and Wellness
Address: 10-16 Grenada Way, Kingston 5
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