Against the background of the celebration of World Food Safety Day to be commemorated on Sunday, June 7, the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) is calling on the support of the public to successfully safeguard food safety.
According to Regional Food Safety Coordinator for the SRHA, Dahlia Plunkett, “the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 600 million people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420,000 die every year.”
She noted that food borne illness is still significant and as the world commemorates World Food Safety Day under the theme, “Food Safety, Everyone’s Business,” she is appealing to everyone to make food safety their business.
Plunkett stated that the SRHA provides oversight and monitors more than 7,695 food handling establishments and more than 20,000 food handlers in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon, with a 90 percent compliance rate. She notes that, while this is a good achievement, the support of the public is critical to achieving 100 percent compliance.
“As we work towards improving others that have fallen short, we are cognizant of the importance of partnership in this regard. The undeniable support of the public is critical to successfully safeguard our Jamaican people through the safe food handling practices employed in the preparation of food for human consumption” Ms. Plunkett added.
The Food Safety Coordinator pointed out that as the country prepares to engage the public in new ways amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she is encouraging the public to remain vigilant as they produce, prepare and consume food.
“As Public Health Inspectors, we are committed to creating the balance between ensuring the health and safety of our people and their livelihood through the provision of safe foods for our consumers” Ms. Plunkett said.