Category: <span>Food Control</span>

30 August 2022 Media Release: GRDM Councillors and officials visit establishments in the Hessequa area

Media Release: GRDM Councillors and officials visit premises and establishments in the Hessequa area

For immediate release
30 August 2022

On Monday, 22 Augustus 2022, a Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) delegation visited various premises and sites within the Hessequa region (Heidelberg and Slangrivier) to establish shortcomings,  evaluate standards of municipal health services delivered, as well as to hand over sanitary towels to learners. Community Services Portfolio Committee members, Ald. Nompumelelo Ndayi, Cllrs Jobieth Hoogbaard and Cobus Meiring, Executive Manager, Clive Africa for Community Services, Manager for Municipal Health and Environmental Management, Johan Compion, and officials from the Hessequa Region formed part of the delegation.

Municipal Health Services as defined in the National Health Act, 2003 includes the following Key Performance Areas of which these visits are applicable to: Water Quality Monitoring, Food Control, Solid Waste Management, Health Surveillance of Premises, Supervision and Prevention of Contagious Diseases (excluding Immunization), Vector Control, Environmental Pollution Control, Disposal of Human Remains and the Safe handling of Chemical Substances.

The team visited three (3) crèches, a soup kitchen, a high school, a spaza shop and an illegal dumping site. By visiting these facilities/premises Councillors were afforded the opportunity to understand how the interventions of Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) assist these establishments to comply with relevant By-Laws and/or legislation. Ongoing monitoring and health and hygiene education by the EHPs enable them to implement measures to address the gaps in line with the Key Performance Areas for Municipal Health Services.

During the visits, Haemish Herwels, Chief: Municipal Health for the Hessequa region,  and Marchelles Hurling, Environmental Health Practitioner, explained the inspection procedures and the issues of importance.

Child care facilities – Herwels reiterated the importance of allowable floor space, which dictate the number of children that can be accommodated at childcare premises. According to the relevant norms and standards, 1.5 m² must be available for each child.  Furthermore he explained that the compliance to the prescribed number of toddlers and proper ventilation can minimize the spread of diseases within the classroom setting.

When visiting another crèche in the area it was observed that space was a real challenge. Crèche principle, Petro Joseph, informed the delegation that due to the number of toddlers currently registered at the facility she is in the process of expanding the facility to ensure, not only compliance to the GRDM By-laws, but also promoting the health and safety of all their toddlers.

Herwels also explained that EHPs visit these facilities on a regular basis to evaluate the hygiene standards of classrooms, bathrooms, outside play areas and the kitchens of those facilities who prepare meals for the toddlers

Visit to Slangrivier High School – Visiting Slangrivier High School was the highlight of the event when Cllr Ndayi and the team handed over two hundred (200) packs of sanitary towels to learners. When she took the items into acceptance, Raymondi Saayman admitted that not having these items makes it difficult for learners to attend school, which has a detrimental impact on their overall academic performance. She extended a messages of appreciation to the Garden Route team for the generous donation. With August being Women’s month Ald. Ndayi, said “While we are celebrating Women’s Month, we hope that these products will help restore the dignity of our female learners, as they will be our leaders of tomorrow”.

Illegal Dumping – The team visited certain sites along Eikeweg where illegal dumping has become a major problem. Herwels explained that the EHP’s conduct regular inspections of formal and informal settlements to monitor illegal dumping, as part of Waste Management which is listed as a key performance area,  as these sites if not managed, create favourable conditions for the breeding of flies and rodents which can contribute to the spread of diseases. When illegal dumping is brought under their attention, it is immediately communicated to the Hessequa Municipality. Furthermore Herwels mentioned that currently they have a good relationship with the Hessequa Municipality, as such that when issues are communicated it is addressed immediately.

Spaza Shops Spaza shops, over the years have become the life-line of informal economic development which has become significant in our communities across the country. These shops are mostly situated in residential areas and customers therefore do not have to travel far to purchase essential goods, especially in case of emergencies.

Although it has its benefits of easy access, these shops must comply with all the requirements as stipulated in the Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and the Transport of Food and Related Matters R 638 of 22 June 2018, to ensure that customers enjoy a convenient, but mostly a healthy shopping experience. Regular inspections are conducted by the EHPs to ensure compliance with the regulation and food samples are taken from time to time to monitor the bacteriological and chemical quality of products. One such spaza-shop is Corner Shop, situated in Heidelberg. When the Garden Route delegation entered the shop, they immediately observed the neatness of the shop with food products that were labelled properly. Marcelles Hurling, the EHP responsible for Heidelberg and Witsand areas, gave an overview of how the inspections are conducted and the intervention taken to ensure compliance to the Regulation. He furthermore explained that constant hygiene and food safety training have an enormous influence on the tidiness of Spaza shops, of which Corner shop is a good example.

Soup Kitchens – A touching moment was to see how Aunt Catherine, together with her assistants prepared a hearty meal for the vulnerable members in her community.  When arriving at the soup kitchen, adults and kids were already queuing to receive their warm soup. Cat’s Kitchen provides meals to almost 100 people per day, three days a week. Catherine said: “We started very small, and at a point I was able to register the soup kitchen and from there onwards, various people came on board including councillors and family members, who helped me to be able to provide these meals”. Adding to this, she said: “We are grateful to the group Unspoken for their assistance with the capturing of the beneficiaries’ names when they collect their meals. With this we can determine who the most vulnerable is in the community”.

Ablution facilities – The team furthermore visited Donald Square, an informal settlement in Heidelberg.  According to Herwels, EHPs conduct regular inspections  in the area, to evaluate the structural requirements of toilet facilities and the hygiene aspects thereof.  A major aspect that is also monitored is the issue of illegal dumping.

While addressing the team, in closing, Cllr Ndayi, said: “For the current GRDM Community Services Portfolio Committee it was our first visit to the premises where our Municipal Health Service perform their duties and it has been an inspiring experience to see how thankful these establishments’ representatives were towards GRDM”. Adding to this she highlighted: “Being accompanied by my colleagues Cllrs Meiring and Hoogbaard, as well as the Head of the Department and the team who work closely with these establishments, showed their true commitment and passion for the communities of the Garden Route”.

Feature Photo: Before leaving Cat’s Soup Kitchen in Slangrivier fo their next stop, Aunt Catherine insisted that each member of the GRDM delegation enjoys a warm cup of soup. 

ENDS

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

E-mail: johan@gardenroute.gov.za

Tel: 044 803 1300

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

12 April 2022 Media Release: Saasveld road construction is nearing completion

Media Release: Saasveld road construction is nearing completion

For immediate release
12 April 2022

Good progress is being made on repairs of Madiba Drive, also known as Saasveld road. Months of earth-and foundation work have been done by the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Roads Services.  Ten Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)  contract workers are appointed to assist with the project. The work is performed using in-house resources, personnel, and EPWP contract workers. The Saasveld road has been inaccessible since November’s flash flood last year.

Earlier this year, the old Armco structure under the road was removed, and the work area was accessed. Approximately 600 m3 of material had to be excavated to reach the bottom of the pipe and to lay the 200 mm diameter pipe (bypass pipe) in order to prevent the trench from flooding.

On Tuesday, 1 March 2022, a further 600 mm was excavated due to the wetness of the in-situ material. The GRDM Construction Team had sourced more materials to strengthen the bedding before they could lay off the 1.8 m concrete pipe.

Four to five layers of bedding were constructed; the first was rock-filled, the second was gravel material mixed with cement, and the third, the laying of the pipes.

 

Pipe laying commenced on 4 April 2022.  Mr John G Daniels, Executive Manager of the GRDM Roads Services and the Portfolio Chairperson of Roads and Transport Services, Alderman Petru Terblanche, were on-site to witness the laying of the first pipe.  The anticipated date to finish laying all the pipes is 14 April 2022.  Upon completion, in-situ material mixed with cement will be used as a cradle to support the pipes and bulk backfilling to 300 mm below road level will commence.  Three layers will then be constructed; 150 mm of sub-base, 150 mm of base course and the surface layer.

According to Mr Lungisa Qendu, Senior Engineering Technician on the construction site, they have already laid six units.  “The in-situ material has been taken to the laboratory for testing, and other materials are currently in the procurement process,” said Qendu.

Mr Qendu further explained that the team’s aim and priority are to lay all pipes, backfill, and open the road as soon as possible.  Activities like headwalls and gabions will not affect road users as these are outside the roadway.

The road closure has caused inconvenience to regular users of the road who has to make use of alternative routes. We thank them for their patience and assure them that we are doing everything possible to have the route reopened as soon as possible.

Click on the link below for a short video of on-site operations.

 

17 March 2021 Media Release: District food control measures remain key to ensuring safe food consumption

Media Release: District food control measures remain key to ensuring safe food consumption

For Immediate Release
17 March 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is one of the 44 district municipalities and eight (8) metro municipalities in South Africa who has to monitor all food premises to ensure that food is produced, handled, stored, processed and distributed safely. It is therefore important for Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) to inspect food premises to assess that food products purchased by customers are safe for human consumption and are of exceptional quality.

In order for GRDM to align itself to the provisions of health related legislation, regular inspections are conducted at all premises where food products are handled and/or stored.  These businesses, be it formal or informal, are not limited to hotels, restaurants, spaza shops, dairy farms, butcheries school feeding schemes and retail outlets.  While at a premises inspection, EHP check if food products are labelled correctly, hygiene standards are in place, storage is done according to generally accepted standards, food products are handled correctly and also ensure that preventative measures are in place to avoid pest control issues. These inspections are done in accordance with the Regulations governing general hygiene requirements for food premises and the Transport of food; Regulation 638 of 22 June 2018.

The following figures of work outputs for the period January 2017 up to December 2020 are of interest and provide an indication of the number of site visits, which were conducted by GRDM EHPs throughout the region.

  1. Number of food premises inspections: 42 404
  2. Number of water samples taken: 7 784
  3. Food samples taken: 2036
  4. Health surveillance conducted at premises: 92 436 (these include non-food premises)

The general public can be assured that measures are in place to ensure that safe and healthy food products are provided to all consumers. Furthermore, the public is urged to report any irregularities, complaints or non-compliance to their nearest GRDM Municipal Health office, or to lodge such issues via phone to 044 805 1550 or e-mail info@gardenroute.gov.za.

All complaints will be attended to and timeous feedback will be provided.

ENDS