POND ISLAND - Carnival booth holders have received another positive report from the Inspectorate of Public Health for Carnival 2016. Booth holders also received a positive report from the inspectorate last year for their attention to health and hygiene and their priority for food safety overall. The St. Maarten Carnival development Foundation (SCDF) and Stichting Overheids Gebouwen (SOG) also were complimented for their general actions in keep Carnival Village up to hygienic standards.
In her assessment report presented to the SCDF on Tuesday, Food Safety controller Tamisha Priest noted that the surveillance and consistent presence of a team from the inspectorate in Carnival Village at all hours of the day and night, had a positive effect. She said the presence of the team also made booth holders as well as consumers aware of the inspectorate’s commitment to ensuring safe food being served to the public, resident and visitor alike.
Besides the constant and random checks throughout the official Carnival period, all booth holders were subject to three pre-inspections on April 11, 12 and 13. The inspectorate found that all booths were in full compliance prior to the opening of Carnival Village on April 14. Moreover, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, no vending permits were issued to booth holders unless they presented a food handlers certificate.
In total, the team of inspectors conducted 412 controls over 15 days. They issued 4 verbal warnings, 36 corrective actions (mostly for employee attire such as hair restraints) and confiscated just one item from one booth which was handed over voluntarily. Not a single official complaint (in writing) had to be given to any booth holder. The inspectorate also noted that trash was well maintained, the village was in a clean state and the village ground maintenance was properly done.
“We simply do not compromise on safety and health issues during Carnival. This not only means safety and security in relation to the Police force and our security personnel, but with our food as well,” Carnival Director Mike Granger said. “Carnival Village is the heart and soul of our festival. We have to ensure at all times that the public is aware of our seriousness when it comes to food safety. We are quite pleased to know that our booth holders are just as serious and continue to practice proper hygienic and food safety procedures,” he added.
“The inspectorate would like to thank all booth holders for their full 100% compliance during our Carnival inspections, and also we would like to commend SCDF for their efforts and assistance during this event, also for all consumers to know that the inspectorate’s commitment is to ensure safe food being served to the public,” Priest said.
All control actions by the inspectorate were based on a list of criteria that booth holders received in booth holder’s meetings prior to the start of Carnival. These include but are not limited to: Food handling certification, cleanliness of the booth holders and workers, food handling procedures, storage of food before, during and after large events, proper usage of utensils, equipment maintenance, trash disposal ect.