An alarming number of food outlets have breached sanitary regulatory requirements ranging from employees not properly washing their hands to the storage and preparation of meals.
This is according to a survey conducted by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) from September 2018 to March 2019 among 55 randomly selected food service establishments in Regions Four and Six.
The inspection checklist assessed six areas: food storage, cold storage, food preparation, sanitation, garbage disposal and employee hygiene.
Only 25% of the facilities practiced adequate food storage. Cold storage was satisfactory in 34% of the facilities, and only 22% had a functional temperature monitoring device (thermometer).
In regard to food preparation, only 18% effectively protected the food from contamination, whilst a mere 11% practiced meat thawing safely.
Food handlers in only 13% of establishments used gloves. As it relates to sanitation, only 4% of the establishment’s workers were observed applying the correct principles of cleaning and sanitising.
While adequate external garbage disposal was present in the majority (73%) of establishments, only 56% had adequate temporary internal garbage disposal. In regard to employee hygiene, only 20% practiced handwashing correctly and in 42% of the establishment’s workers, used no hair nets.
Microbiological samples were taken of the food; from workers’ hands, from food contact surfaces, from food serve containers, and air quality.
Of the 99 food samples submitted, 37% was unsatisfactory and of the 102 hands of workers that were swabbed after washing, 47% were unsatisfactory. In regard to food contact surfaces (cutting boards and utensils), 30% of the 125 surfaces swabbed after cleaning and / or sanitising were unsatisfactory.
Furthermore, 46% of the 48 food serve containers (food boxes) sampled were unsatisfactory. The air quality in the majority of establishments was generally satisfactory since 95% of the 64 air quality samples taken were satisfactory.