DEH food safety programme keeps food handlers in the know

Among the programmes offered by the Department of Environmental Health to promote food safety is its food hygiene training.

Among the programmes offered by the Department of Environmental Health to promote food safety is its food hygiene training.

“I’ll tell you this much – that’s one programme that’s functioning like a well-oiled machine,” DEH environmental health officer Gideon Simms said. “If it wasn’t for that programme … we would be in bad shape.”

There are approximately 850 commercial food establishments in the Cayman Islands. All persons involved in the sale, handling, preparation, storage and delivery of food for public consumption should receive the requisite training for their job activities, according to the DEH website. “You can’t fool anybody,” Simms said. “If the food programme is not running well, that George Town hospital would be filled.”

The Department of Environmental Health carries out several programmes aimed at keeping Cayman safe from foodborne illness.

That said, the transient nature of the country with regards to expatriate workers does present its own issues.

“We have a problem because people roll over and go. But while it’s not mandated for them to have the training prior to coming into the business, as soon as they come in, though, they have to make arrangements.”

“You may very well find that a premises that was always compliant, the managers left the island or went somewhere else and you bring a new manager in or a few new key staff and the hygiene state goes downhill,” Simms said. “We have a problem because people roll over and go. But while it’s not mandated for them to have the training prior to coming into the business, as soon as they come in, though, they have to make arrangements.”

Targeted groups for this training include chefs, food servers, managers, food importers and suppliers, according to the DEH. Through this course, participants are provided with information on food hygiene topics including, bacteriology, cleaning/sanitisation, temperature control, cross contamination, personal hygiene, hygienic and safe food preparation, food storage, and pest control.

The course is offered on a bi-monthly basis and lasts six hours. It costs $15 per applicant.

In Grand Cayman, contact DEH at (345)949-6696 for further details. In Cayman Brac & Little Cayman, contact DEH at (345)948-2321 for further details.

Other stories in this series:

Cleanest kitchen or dirtiest diner? DEH redacts names from food safety reports

Business license process sidesteps food inspectors

 

 

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