Health Inspector Alexander Ramnath with a bag containing food confiscated from a food outlet. PHOTO BY TREVOR WATSON
Food standards law needed - says health inspectors
...its the only way some food outlet and restaurant owners will comply
SUE-ANN WAYOW email@example.com
THE only way food outlets and restaurant owners may adhere to specific health standards is if the Government makes those standards the law.
This is according to Alexander Ramnath, head of the Food Unit at San Fernando City Corporation.
On Wednesday, Ramnath led a team of ten public health inspectors, along with Dr Ingrid Poon King, principal medical officer, and chief public health inspector (PHI) John Ramkhelawan to inspect several restaurants at Gulf City Shopping Complex, La Romaine for a second time this month.
San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali accompanied the inspectors.
Ramnath told the Express: "We don't have national standards. It is only when we go in and ask them (restaurant owners) to do something, then they will respond. If we have standards written in our laws, it will surely help us with violations to be more stern with them.
"In order for us to be more forceful, we need to have standards set by the Parliament. We don't have Trinidad standards, so we use the international standards and adopt them," Ramnath said.
"If we want to move forward, we need to develop laws that would set standards for all food premises under the same regulation."
Twelve food outlets were inspected Wednesday, including Burger King, TGI Fridays, Papa John's and Wendy's.
Ramnath said: "Generally, most of them were in good condition as compared to (other food establishments) we met on our first inspection. These were clean. You could see that the owners made a concerted effort to clean their establishments."
However, a continuous problem was food temperature.
He said the temperature for the food warmers for meat should not be below 60 degrees centigrade and some persons had the temperature at 30 degrees centigrade.
He said for cold food items such as salads, the temperature should not be above five degrees centigrade and some temperatures were as much as 19 degrees centigrade.
One restaurant had meat confiscated because of improper storage. Cooked meat was stored with raw meat which could cause cross-contamination, Ramnath said.
Three pounds of beef, stew pork and cooked potatoes were taken.
Mayor Muradali said: "I commend our public health inspectors for a job well done. The standards seem to be improving based on continuous exercises and monitoring."