We have had a great deal to celebrate over the past few weeks: the weather is improving with spring on its way, Whales have been spotted with their calves off the island, The shops are filling with chocolate and Christmas decorations.
AND we have completed the first phase of the Food Safety awareness programme here on St Helena.
At the moment the Food safety legislation over here is not as stringent as that in the UK, however that is going to change in 2015 as the onset of the airport will bring international expectations and requirements.
Food safety has to be the foundation from which every food provider works from. When we serve food to people, whether they pay or not, we are entering into a contract with them. The agreement is that what we are providing is not only tasty but is safe to eat. This is the mantra we have been reciting to food premises over here.
For 6 months Susan White from Dorset has been over here working with food providers to ensure they have strong working practices and know legal requirements. 130 people have gone through a variety of food hygiene trainings from the elementary to the advanced. Already there are visible changes to establishments and businesses where they have examined their work flow and changed to safer practices.
These achievements were celebrated here in two events. The first was at Plantation House and was hosted by Governor Capes and his wife Tamara. This event was to congratulate the implementation of food safety standards within 23 individual businesses on St Helena. As this is currently a voluntary practice I am thrilled to see the commitment by so many
The second event was held in the garden at 2onmain where we held an afternoon tea party for all who took part and passed (100% pass rate) their food safety exams. Certificates were handed out and we congratulated 7 of the participants who actually achieved 100% marks in their exams. It was a great afternoon.
As this is work in progress we will continue to support training in this area where needed. It’s a sobering thought that the UK with its high standards in this area still reported 10million cases of food poisoning in 2013. That’s nearly 1 in 6 of the population!