Unhygienic shops closed

THE Environmental Health Department in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro held a food safety blitz on July 26 in the Port Elizabeth CBD and Centrahil.

The programme has been launched to ensure that shops adhere to hygienic food holding, preparation guidelines, valid operating permits and waste disposal contracts.

“These shops which don’t comply with certain criteria, pose a high risk of disease outbreaks like listeriosis and we have to make sure that they have valid business licences, otherwise we have to close them down,” said Councillor Lance Grootboom, MMC for Public Health and Environmental Health sub-directorate.

Out of a total of 39 formal food handling shops, 14 were closed due to non-compliance and unhygienic conditions.

Food was confiscated at five shops due to it being expired.

A total of 58 agar samples were done in order to determine the levels of microbial compliance.

In addition, a total of 11 fines of R2 000 each (R22 000) were issued on shop owners for illegal dumping and not having a trade contract for the removal of refuse.

The most common findings were unhygienic conditions in shops and they did not comply with the minimum hygiene standards of the regulation governing general hygiene in food handling premises.

Most of the premises do not have refuse removal and pest control contracts in place.

A food outlet in Parliament Street’s doors were closed due to the non-compliance with health regulations.

The owner was also operating without a business licence and authorisation.

The Environmental Health Department also confiscated several expired products on the shelves.

A similar operation was held in the Korsten business area in June. This led to the closure of 45 premises that did not have Certificates of Acceptability.

Waste disposal was also found to be a serious problem during that operation, as 60 of the businesses visited did not have a waste removal contract as required by the department. The officials also confiscated several products from seven shops in Korsten.

On completion of that operation, more than 60 business operators applied for Certificates of Compliance at the Environmental Health offices.

Grootboom said that more operations would follow in various parts of the Metro shortly.