Health inspectors zoom in on Cape Town eateries

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - Clean floors and seemingly spotless kitchen counters does not necessarily mean that your favourite eatery has been certified safe in terms of food hygiene regulations.

The City of Cape Town said in a statement on Wednesday that some 1 155 compliance notices had been issued in the last financial year for non-compliance in terms of food and general hygiene legislation.

In addition, more than 7 500 complaints were received from the public, of which 73 were related to foodstuffs or food premises.

Council officials said, of these, the bulk were related to the sale of expired foodstuffs or where there was a strange taste in the food.

Mayoral committee member for health Siyabulela Mamkeli accompanied senior environmental health practitioner Sigmund Badenhorst on an inspection at Shimmy Beach Club at the V&A Waterfront on Wednesday. The establishment was found to be compliant.

Practitioners checked the facility’s standards, took food samples as well as surface and hand swabs, which were analysed by the City’s health division.

Officials said a total of 7 953 food samples were tested in the last financial year, and of these, 80.3% of samples complied with legislative standards.

Badenhorst said each premises was inspected at least twice a year, while “problematic” establishments were visited more regularly.

Eateries were not informed of planned inspections, and most were conducted at lunch time when kitchens were especially busy, he said.

Areas where food was prepared must, among other things, be hygienic, be under temperature control, have proper hand washing facilities and be manned by staff wearing protective clothing, Badenhorst said.

Mamkeli explained that where problems were detected, the remedial action depended on the potential of that problem to directly affect human health.

“Generally, a compliance notice is issued first and the owner has an opportunity to remedy the situation. If not, we can issue a fine or take the matter to court or we can restrict the certificate of acceptability, which means that food is not allowed to be prepared on site until the problem has been addressed to the satisfaction of our staff.”

Seriously unhygienic practices that had the potential to contaminate food and result in illnesses, received more serious and immediate attention, he said.

According to the City, there were 10 624 formal food premises on its health division’s database.

News24 Source