Many food establishments in St Catherine fail to meet health standards

Several food establishments in the St Catherine towns of Linstead and Spanish Town have not met satisfactory health standards, according to the parish’s health department.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation last Thursday, Chief Public Health Inspector for the parish, Grayson Hutchinson, said 54 food establishments in Linstead were checked by public health officials. Of that number, he said 32 failed to meet the required standards.

“The unacceptable conditions which existed at these (food) establishments were evidence of pest infestation, unprotected outer openings, lack of proper toilet facilities, improper waste water disposal, improper storage of toxic chemicals, and the lack of handwashing stations,” Hutchinson outlined.

“The establishments were given a work plan or appropriate recommendations were made to address the issues. They will be revisited and monitored to ensure that the work plan given or recommendations made for improvements made are carried out,” he disclosed.

In relation to Spanish Town, reports have surfaced of a rat infestation occurring in the old capital.

As a result, public health inspectors visited 104 food establishments. Of that number, 47 such facilities inspected had signs of rodent infestations.

“A total of 104 food establishments were visited in the geographical area from which the reports were received… It was observed that 47 or 45 per cent of those establishments inspected showed evidence of rodent infestation,” Hutchinson informed.

He also shared that some of those establishments were located at the Spanish Town market.

“Mr Chairman I wish to mention that 30 of the 104 food establishment visited are located in the market. Therefore any action to be taken would require significant input or collaboration with the municipal corporation which has responsibility for the market,” he told the municipal meeting.

Against that background, the chief public health inspector called on other food entities in Spanish Town to take greater steps to prevent rodent infestations at their properties.