The THA Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection said it is cracking down on health and safety violations by food vendors.
On Tobago Channel 5's morning show, Health Secretary Dr Faith BYisrael said it was observed during Carnival 2023 that a number of people selling food and drinks to the public were not following some of the basic guidelines.
But, she warned, “We have basically embarked on a zero-tolerance policy, meaning that we want to push you, push all of you, all of us who are selling food and drinks to the public, to be as safe as possible.”
She listed the first step that must be taken: “You must have a food badge that has 2023 on it. We’ve recognised that, yes, there was a period where we were allowing you to not have a food badge that has 2023 – because all of 2020, 2021, 2022, we were all still in the middle of covid19, trying to get back out, and we kind of allowed you to be relaxed."
But, she said, "We have come out of the pandemic, we are back to normal functioning. So we are saying to everyone who needs to sell food or drinks to the public: you must have a 2023 food badge.”
She noted that food badges are issued by municipalities, and a national policy says a food badge is only valid in the area where it is issued.
“So if you are planning to sell food or drinks in Tobago, you need to get a food badge that was issued by the Tobago House of Assembly.”
She warning that during upcoming events for Easter and Tobago Jazz, the public health inspectors will be out in their numbers.
“They’ve actually started a couple weeks ago. They would continue over the next couple weeks to actually go to areas and do inspections to remind people. So you may see any of the public health inspectors. They go around in the blue shirts. They would come around and they would check for several things.”
She spelled out some of the rules.
“If you’re dealing with food, you need to cover your hair – that is something we all know. Have your hair covered –and that also means the hair under your arm, so you can’t be selling in armholes, armless or sleeveless tops – you need to have things with sleeves.
"If you have (a) beard, you cover the hair on your beard as well, and you definitely need to have your beard covered beyond where your arm is.
"Obviously, you need to have access to clean, running water and access to washroom facilities.
"Absolutely no jewellery.”
She said those interested in obtaining a food badge can call or WhatsApp 723-3440 or 488-8465 during working hours.