Health inspectors move to stop sale of flood-contaminated food

The Ministry of Health says that in the past week, Public Health Inspectors have inspected 17,449 premises in the flood-affected communities throughout Trinidad.

In a statement issued Thursday, the ministry said that thus far, inspectors have reported that 21 schools and 550 food premises were impacted.

It was also reported that 17 farms lost animals due to the recent flooding.

Public Health Inspectors have been in the field visiting areas affected by flooding to ensure, through the application of surveillance and mass health education interventions, that health and safety practices are followed.

Focus is being directed towards the prevention of outbreaks of communicable diseases in these communities, the ministry said.

As part of their health surveillance activities, Public Health Inspectors are visiting food premises to ensure that contaminated foods are not offered for sale to the public and are disposed of in a manner that prevents its re-entry into the market.

Moreover, the Inspectors are monitoring food preparation and processing facilities to ensure that contaminated raw materials are not being used in their operations.

Inspectors are also liaising closely with farmers, market vendors and members of households in the communities where flooding has occurred to ensure that they follow the appropriate protocols in evaluating the safety of the crops and, where necessary, in the disposal of affected crops.

Green, leafy vegetable crops are especially susceptible to the adverse effects of flood waters.

Overflowing privies such as septic tank systems and pit latrines, as well as the carcasses of large animals, pose a significant health risk when flooding occurs as they can contaminate flood waters, which in turn contaminate potable water supplies and vegetable crops.

The ministry notes that once identified, Inspectors liaise with the relevant authorities to rectify the problem in as short a time frame as possible. 

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