Food Safety sensitizes food vendors in 21 schools

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A two day sensitisation on hygienic practices for dozens of school food vendors within the Kanifing municipality recently ended on a high note, with vendors taking home the required hygienic practices of food processing, handling and selling.

The event was organised by the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) as part of its mandate to address Safety and Quality issues about food.

It is understood that cross-contamination may occur when food vendors inappropriately place raw and processed foods together.  The same thing could as well happen during incidences of improper cooking and storage of food, hence the staging of this training as a means of instilling the habit of proper handling of food as a key method of reducing contamination of food and food borne illnesses.

This is particularly a serious concern to FSQA, who also felt it sacrosanct to ensure that food vendors upheld the required hygienic standards in the handling and sale of food items especially in schools.

As a result, the food vendors were implored to desist from including but not limited to, practices that can cause contamination to food sold to pupils at school.

The director general of the authority Zainab Jallow, feeling enthused with the outcome of the training, thanked the participants for their presence and their willingness to undertake the changes being called for by the authority. She further reiterated that ensuring safe food is the responsibility of one and all and promised that FSQA will continue to work with them to ensure that together, they achieve the goal of ensuring safe and quality food for our children in schools.

The Risk Communicator at FSQA, Halimatou Baldeh, emphasised on the need for cleanliness, the use of plain papers to wrap bread instead of newspapers, which could ferry infections and chemical from the ink into food. Mrs. Baldeh frowned at fraudulent practices with food, describing the act as a criminal offence that is punishable by law.

Marie Jabang, a food inspector at the Institution, and with responsibility for schools, for her part, hammered home the use of gloves during the sale of food items that they said would prevent contamination from other foreign matter, such as money, to the food.

Participants too took turns to heap praises at FSQA for rolling out what they called a ‘beneficial sensitization.’

Rohey Touray, a vendor at West African International School, said the programme was a life saver, citing the difference.

“It’s a good training, because we learnt a lot about handling food, cooking and selling. We were also exposed to numerous hygiene methods that will greatly improve the appearance of our cuisine”, she remarked.

Kura Njie, also a participant commended FSQA for the initiative. She promised to conduct a step down training in her locality, in order to impact many lives.