Fruit vending allowed, cooked food needs licence

Food safety experts say road-side
street vending is generally not allowed in Cayman, but in some instances, like
the selling of fruit in season, it can be tolerated.

Senior Food Safety Officer with the
Department of Environmental Health, Gideon Simms, said some exceptions were
made. “We generally don’t come down too hard if someone is just selling some
fruits like coconuts or breadfruit.

“What we would say though, is that
it is best if this is not done along the roadway, but rather in an open lot,
with the owner’s consent or some arrangement like that,” he explained.

But Mr. Simms said the department
would not overlook the sale of cooked food when individuals did not have a
proper licence because with cooked food, there is the added concern of
sanitation and temperature control.

The Department of Environmental
Health issues licences for food purveyors and of monitoring standards. 

Part of the reason fruits are
allowed to be sold is because they do not have to be cooked, according to Mr.
Simms, who added that since fruits are seasonal and there are not many
full-time farmers in Grand Cayman, most of the time when people are selling
fruit, it’s because they have had an excess crop or knew someone who had
some to spare.

“They are generally just getting
rid of the fruit in a way that is not wasteful and most cannot and often times
do not want to make it a full time enterprise,” he said.

There are some officially licensed
fruit vendors in Grand Cayman, however, including Buddy’s Fresh Farm Produce,
Joe Tourist and Franky’s Fresh Fruits.

Mr. Simms said his department would
allow fruit and produce to be sold at certain places like Public Beach where,
for example, Franklin Smith’s fruits are sold on certain days
of the week.

The food safety officer added that
for cooked food, would have to be sought, requiring prospective entrepreneurs
to display proper covering or shelter, as well as washing facilities and
related certifications in safety and sanitation.

“Even vendors with coconuts were
fine in George Town,” said Mr. Simms, as long as they are not being sold on the
main road and the individuals have the permission of the owner of the premises,
“they should
be fine”.

Clothes and other merchandise fall
under the road-side vending ban and fruits and produce are the only exceptions,
said Mr. Simms.

LOCALFruitvendingSTORY

Buddy Wood, one of Cayman’s officially licensed fruit vendors, next to his stall of fruits.
Photo: Stuart Wilson