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13 July 2022 Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners annually ensures Knysna Oyster Festival safe

Media Release: GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners annually ensures Knysna Oyster Festival safe

For immediate release
13 July 2022

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) fulfils their mandatory duties by ensuring that hygiene standards at all festivals are maintained.  The recent Knysna Oyster Festival is one of many examples where EHPs worked diligently to ensure quality health standards were maintained.

Role and interventions during the festival

EHPs from the GRDM Knysna office prepared for the Knysna Oyster Festival well in advance.  They had to plan, and implement mitigating and monitoring activities for the entire festival. This already started days before the festival commenced and concluded after the festival officially ended.

Food control

  • All informal food premises were inspected before and during the festival, including daily inspections at Oyster Festival “Hot spots”;
  • Inspections were also conducted at various locations in town where thousands of oysters were kept under prescribed conditions;
  • Several batches of oyster samples were dispatched to the Merieux NutriSciences Laboratory in Cape Town for bacteriological analysis, prior to the start of the festival, to establish the status of the holding tank water, as well as the bacteriological oyster quality. This lab requested EHPs from the Garden Route District assist with the surveillance of oysters procured from other areas within the Southern Cape; and
  • The drinking water to be provided to the athletes participating in the Forest Marathon was analysed to ensure compliance with the Bottled Water Regulations: “Regulation 692 of 1997, promulgated under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act (Act 54 of 1972)”.

Water quality monitoring

Bacteriological water monitoring of the Knysna Estuary was conducted by sampling water at 14 sites in and around the estuary.

Health surveillance of premises

Regular inspections and health surveillance of premises of all related public amenities was undertaken during the Festival, including:

  • Public toilet facilities;
  • Accommodation establishments;
  • Cycle race registration;
  • Marathon;
  • Food markets; and
  • Tobacco control at premises.

Communicable disease outbreak

The local EHPs and relevant medical health care providers have established a strict protocol for reporting communicable disease outbreaks. Hospitals, general practitioners, and pharmacies, both private and provincial, were included.

After the festival, the EHPs participated in debriefing sessions to discuss the best practices and challenges identified.

For any further information, please contact GRDM Lakes (Knysna) Region Municipal Health Services:

Mr James McCarty

Chief:  Municipal Health Lakes (Knysna)

Tel: 044 382 7214

Cell: 082 805 9417

Address: 26A Queen Street, Knysna


 Mr. Johan Compion

Manager: Municipal Health & Environmental Services


Tel: 044 803 1300

Featured image:  Picture taken during an oyster competition at Taste of Knysna.