NEWS

Health Department Restores Restaurant Grading System

$2000 fine or imprisonment of 12 months or both, is the penalty for operators who fail to abide by the Food Safety Regulation 2009 guideline.
29 Jul 2022 16:48
Health Department Restores  Restaurant Grading System
Divisional Health Inspector Northern Division, Vakaruru Cavuilati, during the General Hygiene Practice (GHP) training with restaurant operators in Labasa on July 27, 2022. Photo: Sampras Anand

The incompetence of some restaurant operators to maintain good food hygiene practice and food preparation environment in Labasa has prompted the re-introduction of the grading system. The last grading system was conducted in 2018.

The matter has also prompted the Divisional Health Inspector Northern Division, Vakaruru Cavuilati, to organise General Hygiene Practice (GHP) training.

The training, which opened on Wednesday, focused on empowering and enhancing the 32 restaurant operators on the Food Safety Regulation (FSR) 2009 guidelines. He reiterated that the high turnover of staff and new operators led them to organise a training this year.

Mr Cavuilati said between five per cent to 10 per cent of restaurant operators came under the spotlight for practising poor food hygiene and food preparation health standards in Labasa.

 

This is based on an inspection conducted earlier this year. The statistics reflected the first six months, where some operators had failed to observe the FSR guideline.

“This was expected as our last GHP training was held in 2018,” Mr Cavuilati said.

“Most times, restaurants are seen fancy looking and of standard from its exterior features, but things are poorly organised in the kitchen, which is the most important space for any food outlet.”

Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ health inspector, Archal Chand (standing), going through the Food Safety Regulations guideline 2009 with the 32 restaurant operators during the General Hygiene Practice (GHP) training at the Civic Centre building in Labasa on July 27, 2022. Photo: Sampras Anand

Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ health inspector, Archal Chand (standing), going through the Food Safety Regulations guideline 2009 with the 32 restaurant operators during the General Hygiene Practice (GHP) training at the Civic Centre building in Labasa on July 27, 2022. Photo: Sampras Anand

He said their teams would visit each restaurant three times during the grading assessment period. Grading will begin from Grade A until Grade C for the least hygienic restaurant or eatery.

The final grading will be released by December this year.

The department is also assisting the Labasa Town Council to carry out the surveillance activities. Restaurant operators under this GHP Act are required to ensure that good hygiene practice is followed at all stages of food production, processing, handling, storage and distribution of food.

 

Operators Laud Grading Exercise

Aroma King Restaurant owner, Ashwin Prasad, said the training was a beneficial exercise for him because he was unaware of some of the regulations stipulated in the Food Act of 2009.

Mr Prasad said the refresher course provided him with an updated understanding of the food regulation act.

Salin Sangeeta Naidu shared similar sentiments.

Ms Naidu employs 16 staff members in four outlets in Labasa and Seaqaqa. She said they were still recovering financially from the effects of COVID-19.

“Customers must feel safe and comfortable having their meals at the eatery, so this grading ensures that a certain standard has to be met to achieve these goals,” she said.

 

Feedback: sampras.anand@fijisun.com.fj



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