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Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality takes food safety blitz to Walmer Shopping Centre

By Afikile Lugunya - Nov 14, 2018
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality takes food safety blitz to Walmer Shopping Centre

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Public Health Directorate, led by Acting Environmental Health Deputy Director, Dr Patrick Nodwele, conducted another food safety blitz at the Walmer Park Shopping Centre, in Port Elizabeth.

The food safety inspection team, accompanied by local media, visited Woolworths, Pick n’ Pay and Mug & Bean - stores that people would normally perceive to be safe and clean, and probably do not need checks.

Pick n’ Pay was the first stop. There, the delegation was received by Sandy Hattigh, who is the Daily Manager of the kitchen at Pick n’ Pay in Walmer.

Asked how she felt about the surprise visit, she said that the store is always ready for food safety inspections so there was nothing to prepare for because they are always ready.

However, Dr Nodwele and his team were not very impressed after finding "a lot of dirt".

"I'm not certain on whether those are rat droppings or not, but I would like to see a lot of cleaning going on here so that we would see what those little droppings are," he instructed the workers.

Pick n’ Pay workers did confirm that they have pest control measures in place at the store.

The safety team advised them to find a way to control the store mice so that when the next inspection is done, an improvement will be seen.

At Woolworths, the media was denied permission to watch the inspection or take videos because procedures had apparently not been followed in securing permission for the inspection.

Awareness of food safety

Speaking to the media, Dr Nodwele said that awareness was being made on food safety at outlets operating in the Nelson Mandela Bay because consumer health is important.

"We are looking at various aspects such as the facilities certified to handle food stuffs, certification of the facility and premises that meet the requirements," he added.

Dr Nodwele said that, so far things were looking good, but there are challenges especially on the removal of waste.

"We must know where that waste is going; they must show us destruction certificates. There were those gaps here and there, but generally most of the facilities were found to be complying,” he said.

"In line with the administration law, when we make recommendations to these owners, we must give them time-frames to respond."

He added that the food safety inspections are yielding positive results.

Assisting outlets become legally compliant 

"Some of the organized businesses have come forward to the municipality to ask for partnership because what we've noted – especially with outlets owned by foreign nationals, is that they don’t understand the South African law, so we help them understand and comply with the law,” Dr Nodwele.

"Waste management issues because of the special planning in an area cannot be done adequately so it's part of the planning."

He said that they are looking at refurbishing some areas to accommodate the waste management challenges.

"We have had a number of shop owners especially those, who didn't have authorisation, coming in to ask us how to legalise their businesses," he added.

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