Food safety training for Chinese employers and their workers

Monday, November 18, 2019

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MAY PEN, Clarendon — Local health authorities say a training programme has influenced significant improvements in food safety compliance among Chinese nationals who operate businesses in this south-central parish.

A news release from the Southern Regional Health Authority said the compliance rate for food safety among Chinese-run businesses moved from 20 to 80 per cent within eight months.

The initiative involved the Public Health Inspectorate body in Clarendon training Chinese employers and their Jamaican workers in food safety.

Public Health Inspector (PHI) from the Clarendon Health Services, Gabrielle Jackson, who is the zone supervisor for the Spalding Health District, explained that the language barrier has been a challenge for the Chinese nationals in maintaining satisfactory levels of food safety compliance.

“Ninety per cent of the supermarkets and wholesale businesses in the towns of Frankfield and Spalding in Clarendon are owned by Chinese nationals and so the team decided in 2018 to take a new approach and train the Chinese nationals and their Jamaican workers in an effort to assist them more with functioning effectively and adhering to the food safety requirements,” Jackson said.

The Public Health Inspector said this year's workshop had exceeded expectations.

“This year our sessions were very interactive and we had more practical sessions. I know the compliance results will be better because the participants demonstrated during their assessment just how much they have grasped regarding food safety.

“The Chinese have also requested that this programme be shared with their colleagues in other parts of the island.”

Jackson said the workshop has become standardised in Clarendon, adding that the team conducts assessments and maintains relationships, in order to sustain the success of the programme. The establishments are also visited periodically to assess and assist with any challenges. Fifty Chinese nationals and their Jamaican workers were trained from November 6 to 8 at the Spalding United Church Hall in Spalding, Clarendon in personal hygiene, ethics and interpersonal skills and cleaning and sanitisation.

Other areas included: food storage, pest control, hand washing techniques, solid waste management, and public health legislation and regulations.

Chief Public Health Inspector for Clarendon, Linnees Green-Baker, welcomed the workshop, noting that it has broken barriers of misconception and misinformation because Public Health Inspectors are normally seen as individuals who close businesses.

“You are valued stakeholders in food safety and we recognise the sacrifice that you have made to be here to participate in this workshop. We want to see you do well and set a high standard for food safety in the parish,” Green-Baker told the participants.

Vice-president of the Jamaica Guangdong Association, Michael Mao, who also functioned as an interpreter, said the workshop was a wonderful idea that the Chinese nationals really appreciate. “We are happy, we are happy. The language barrier has always been a challenge and we thank the team for taking the time to address this challenge. This is a good partnership for the Jamaicans and the Chinese. The team has helped us to understand the requirements and this is very helpful ...” Mao said.


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