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Sunday, 31 March 2013

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Compulsory medical tests, dress code for food industry

The Health Ministry has given strict instructions to all hotel, restaurant and eating house owners to ensure that their workers undergo medical tests and conform to a proper dress code.

"The medical tests will have to be performed only at a government laboratory such as the Colombo Municipal council (CMC) lab for those in the CMC area; the Government Analyst's Department is open to all workers islandwide and the Medical Research Institute. No reports of tests conducted in a private institution will be accepted", Director, Food Administration Unit, Health Ministry, K. Tillekeratne told Sunday Observer.

He said tests on hotel workers conducted at the CMC lab when food outlets were asked to get their workers medically tested prior to renewing their licences, had revealed communicable diseases such as Hepatitis, TB and skin ailments such as eczema.

"No one suffering from these diseases will be allowed to handle food, let alone serve food. They will have to be treated and given a clean bill of health if they want to remain in the food industry", he said.

Reiterating that food-borne diseases were on the increase, he said even star class hotels were guilty of serving unhygienic food which contained harmful pollutants including ants, flies and other insects. He stressed that food handlers especially should conform to a dress code which included, gloves, masks and caps; they should be fully clothed instead of being bare chested while cooking. Soap and water should also be easily accessible to all food handlers , he emphasised.

Tillekeratne said training programs for hotel workers and owners on food safety rules were under way with special programs for Public Health Inspectors and MOHs on new trends in food technology, to improve food quality in all food outlets.

 

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