KSAMC to address food vendors tomorrow

KSAMC to address food vendors tomorrow

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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THE Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is finally moving to address widespread unregulated food vending in the Corporate Area.

The KSAMC yesterday summoned all mobile food vendors in the municipality to a stakeholder meeting at the corporation's Church Street office in downtown Kingston, tomorrow, starting at 1:00 pm.

Councillor Duane Smith (Chancery Hall), who chairs the corporation's Commercial Services Committee (CSC), said yesterday that the meeting will be critical to both the municipality and the vendors going forward.

“We are inviting the suppliers, street food vendors, owners and operators of carts and food trucks to attend this meeting. We have had food safety on the back burner for quite a while across the municipality, and this is step one in the direction of regulation and order,” Smith said.

He noted that the council has also extended invitations to the public health authorities to join the meeting, as the intention is to have information readily available for acquisition of the necessary permits.

He said that the Jamaica Constabulary Force has also raised concerns regarding the location of several (food) carts, and explained that the KSAMC will be taking steps to both regulate and hear feedback from vendors regarding the challenges they face.

Under the Public Health Act, the parish council constitutes the Local Board of Health and is mandated to make regulations relating to the inspection and maintenance of sanitary conditions in shops, restaurants and other eating establishments, and all other premises where articles of food or drink are manufactured or prepared for sale, stored, handled, or sold.

The KSAMC had threatened from April to address the unregulated practices, which have been creating several public health and public order issues.

Smith said several food vendors have already informed the KSAMC of their interest in becoming regulated by the corporation.

He stated that many of the vendors had no food handler's permit, do not follow best practices, and there are concerns about the source of their meats and other food items.

“We must protect our citizens, encourage businesses, and maintain order simultaneously,” Smith told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

He said that special attention will be paid to vendors selling jerked meats, hot dogs, fish, and soups.

“This is a part of our culture and we have had a few scares in the past, and the time has come to give the street food culture the protection and structure that it deserves,” he added.

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