Various recent outbreaks following health and food safety transgressions both city and country wide led the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Public Health Directorate to conduct a four-day food safety blitz that started today at Daku Hall in Port Elizabeth.
NMBM Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) Yolisa Pali stated that this programme would focus on equipping small business owners with the necessary information and tools in order to trade legally.
“This programme is the first of its kind in the Metro; we are here to assist the informal traders with information that will assist them in complying with by-laws. To avoid unnecessary outbreaks, we strongly believe that prevention is better than cure. This will be an ongoing programme. We believe that people will continue with (Vuk’uzenzele), meaning that they work up and hustle, hence it is essential that we continue to provide them with the needed guidance,” said Pali.
NMBM Director for Public Health, Dr Patrick Nodwele, said that during the food safety blitz operations in various areas of the Metro last year, it became clear that there was a pressing need for this kind of training for the sector. “The training has been further necessitated by the changes in South African legislation governing general hygiene requirements and the transport of food, particularly after the Listeriosis outbreak. Part of these changes required that particularly ‘persons in charge’ in the food industry or food handlers must be adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety by an accredited inspector,” said Nodwele.
During the training session, it was shared that the training would benefit the food traders because it is a lifelong skill that will capacitate the informal food trading sector. It also does not restrict them to work in informal trading, but could serve as a lever to propel them to access employment in the formal food industry. One of the small business owners that benefited on the day, Linda Ntshanyana of New Brighton, said, “I am so grateful to the Municipality for this initiative. I have learnt a lot about food safety as a caterer. I have also learnt that it will be easy for us to apply for trading licences because these kind of trainings are part of requirements prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Acceptability.”
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