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20 March 2024 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners protect public health through rigorous sampling

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners protect public health through rigorous sampling

For Immediate Release
20 March 2024

An extensive sampling program is continuously rolled out across various Garden Route district. The region is divided into several focus areas which include the Klein Karoo, Lakes (Knysna), Lakes (Plettenberg Bay), George (Outeniqua), George (Wilderness), Langeberg (Mossel Bay), and Langeberg (Hessequa).

According to Johan Compion, GRDM Senior Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services, “sampling is central to our mission to ensure the protection of public health , compliance with current legislation and the identification of potential contaminants in the products our communities consumes”.

Food and water can become contaminated at various stages, from production to distribution. The GRDM’s sampling approach enables the precise identification of harmful bacteria, viruses, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.

Public Health Protection

Sampling efforts have the potential to identify food and water contaminants, pathogens, or toxins. EHPs are proactive in sampling various sources to detect hazards, initiate timely measures to mitigate risks and prevent possible outbreaks of foodborne illnesses or waterborne diseases.

Monthly routine bacteriological and chemical water testing are done at established sampling points, complemented by additional sampling in response to complaints or known spillages. Similarly, bacteriological food samples are collected monthly from various locations to verify hygienic standards in storage and preparation. Chemical food samples are evaluated quarterly to confirm the accuracy of product labels.

GRDM EHPs capture sampling data on the institution’s data management system where they can draw reports and monitor compliance. Furthermore the sampling data is available on our Municipal Health Dashboard where they can track the areas of non-compliance as well as historical data to identify any trends of concern.. The historical data also assists EHPs with investigations to determine possible causes and to remedy them as soon as possible to ensure the water or food are compliant to legislated standards.

Collaborative Laboratory Analysis

Chemical and bacteriological water and food samples are analysed by an accredited laboratory for bacteriological samples and the Forensic Chemical Laboratory do all the GRDM’s chemical food samples.

Johan Compion – Senior Manager: Municipal Health, Solid Waste Management & Air Quality Control
Tel: 082 803 5161

Klein Karoo and Kannaland Region
Desmond Paulse – Manager: Municipal Health Klein Karoo
Tel: 044 272 2241 / Cell: 083 678 6530
94 St John Street, Oudtshoorn

Langeberg (Mossel Bay)
Acting Chief: Municipal Health Mossel Bay
Tel: 044 693 0006 /Cell: 083 630 6108
C/O Sampson & Marling Street, Ext 23, Mossel Bay

George (Outeniqua)
Emmy Douglas – Chief: Municipal Health George (Outeniqua)
Tel: 044 803 1537 / Cell: 078 457 2824
Mission Street, Industrial Area, George, 6530

George (Wilderness)
Acting Chief: Municipal Health George (Wilderness)
Tel: 044 803 1522
Mission Street, Industrial Area, George

Lakes (Knysna)
James McCarthy – Chief: Municipal Health Knysna
Tel: 044 382 7214 / Cell: 082 805 9417
26A Queen Street, Knysna

Lakes (Bitou)
Gawie Vos – Chief: Municipal Health Bitou
Tel: 044 501 1600 / Cell: 083 557 1522
7 Gibb Street, Plettenberg Bay

Langeberg (Hessequa)
Haemish Herwels – Chief: Municipal Health Hessequa
Tel: 028 713 2438 / Cell: 083 678 6545
23 Michell Street, Riversdale, 6670

Feature Image: Water Sampling being done by an Environmental Health Practitioner at the Kaaimans River mouth