BVI News

Gov’t clamping down on sale of ‘flood’ food

Amid concerns that retailers may be selling products that were damaged during the flood last week, the government-owned Environmental Health Division said it is conducting spot checks at supermarkets and restaurants to ensure food safety.

Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer Yolanda Penn stated that, while some stores may not have been flooded, items may have been damaged while in storage, warehouses, or storage containers.

As a result, her team has been deployed, and any damaged items found on shelves will be condemned.

“If contaminated items are found, a condemnation certificate will be given which will contain information about how much items were disposed and why it was pulled from the shelves,” Penn explained.

She stated that, following inspection of supermarkets, her team will visit restaurants – especially those located in low-lying areas.

She urged consumers to note product packaging and to avoid purchasing items that appear to be water-logged or to have evidence of contamination.

Persons should also be mindful of frozen items that seem thawed and refrozen, evidenced by ice crystals.

“We just want to ensure the quality and safety of food during this time, and we want consumers to pay special attention as food quality and safety may be comprised,” Penn added. Persons may contact the Environmental Health Division at 468-5110 to report concerns or to have their questions addressed.

The Ministry of Health, in the meantime, advised residents to take precautions when consuming food following power outages.

“Defrosted meat, chicken and fish should be cooked and eaten immediately. Excess food could be shared with neighbours and family to avoid wastage. Food in refrigerators should be eaten first, followed by food in freezers. Avoid frequent opening and closing of refrigerator and freezer doors. Consumers are also advised to purchase only wholesome foods in sealed containers that were not contaminated by flood waters,” the health ministry further advised.

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