The Environmental Health Department has sounded an alarm on the use of deodorizers on food preparation surfaces, and is calling on food handlers and establishments that serve food to put a halt to the practice.
Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael, said his department observed the practice during a number of inspections at local restaurants, bars, delis, grocery stores, and supermarkets in the territory.
He told BVI News his department also received a number of complaints about the practice.
Deodorizers such as air fresheners, aerosols and disinfectants are used to remove unpleasant odours from an area.
Michael said these deodorizers should not be used to clean equipment, stoves, tables, countertops, table mats, microwaves, can openers, refrigerators, or any other food preparation area.
“Deodorisers are not cleaning agents for food surfaces. Deodorizers are for floors and bathrooms – their purpose is for deodorising floors and walls but not on food surfaces. Deodorizers can leave a residue, and chemical contaminants on food surfaces can get on food and cause chemical contamination and chemical poising. It can lead to foodborne illness,” Michael told BVI News.
Online research has shown symptoms and severity of complications of chemical poisoning vary and usually depend on the type of chemical, the length of exposure, the person’s age and medical history, as well as other factors.
Chemicals described as suitable for food surfaces are vinegar, vinegar mixed with baking soda, household bleach, and other types of sanitizers that will clean surfaces and make them hygienic.
The Environmental Health Department said measurement for the bleach is one bleach bottle cap to one gallon of water.
The purpose of sanitisers is to reduce or kill microorganisms after thoroughly cleaning. Chemicals are not to be mixed together, Michael further advised.
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