The informal food trading sector in South Africa has a positive impact on micro businesses which contributes to job creation, poverty alleviation and establishment of breadwinners in communities. The sector plays a critical role in food security, facilitating access to food by poor people living in urban areas and has the potential to expand the economic viability of the region.
To address the Key Performance Areas set for Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), the EHPs of the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Mossel Bay office, facilitated an awareness training session, focusing on informal food traders selling offal on 3 October 2018, at the Asla Park Community Hall. The aim of this type of training is to educate traders on basic food hygiene practices, as outlined in legislation and also to ensure that food being consumed does not pose health risks. The importance of safe, hygienic food handling and selling in the prevention of food poisoning outbreaks, are always emphasized during these events.
Fifteen Informal Food Traders from Mossel Bay attended the session. The following aspects were covered during the training:
- registration of food stalls
- food safety
- food poisoning
- how does one contract food poisoning
- signs and symptoms of food poisoning
- five keys to safer food, which entail:
- keeping clean;
- separating raw food from cooked food;
- cooking food thoroughly;
- keeping food at safe temperatures; and
- using safe water and safe raw material.
Subsequently to the training session, interviews were conducted with participants who indicated that the training was significant. The session also confirmed that they were not familiar with some of the opportunities in Mossel Bay, and how it could benefit them. Attendees also indicated that they would appreciate if more training could be rolled out to them. Incentives such as cooler boxes, storage containers, meat trays, hairnets and aprons, were given to all the participants who attended the training
More training sessions will be conducted by the GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners throughout the year to ensure that safety and hygiene standards are met in order to protect the public.