15 November 2018
Operation Fiela Food Blitz Pays Dividends for the City
An inter-departmental team successfully executed the Operation Fiela Food Blitz in Isiphingo, south of the City today, 15 November issuing a number of fines and confiscating banned, expired and fake goods.
The blitz was carried out by officials from the City’s Environmental Health Unit in partnership with other stakeholders namely the Metro Police, the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority, Building Inspectorate, Fire and Emergency Services, Community Health facilitators, Durban Solid Waste, the South African Police Service, Land Use Management, South Area Based Management, Home Affairs (Immigration), the specialised Urban Regeneration team, Security Management and Business Licensing.
The group was divided into twelve teams, each targeting a specific high-risk area in Isiphingo and was led by a manager from the Environmental Health Unit. Each team also had three Environmental Health Practioners.
Two previous blitzes were held in the Pinetown and Durban central business districts.
The blitz, from the Environmental Health Unit officials, resulted in:
• 75 inspections conducted,
• 24 premises were found to be satisfactory,
• 51 premises were found to be unsatisfactory,
• 19 premises with Certificates of Acceptability,
• 22 premises issued with prosecution notices with fines amounting to R52 000,
• 65 health awareness programmes were conducted,
• 299 people were reached,
• 106 kg of food, namely cheese and polony, were confiscated,
• 68 illegal cosmetic beauty products (banned skin lighting cream) were seized.
Other departments, who were part of the blitz, achieved the following:
• The Fire Department inspected six premises with four notices served. One is pending closure,
• The Electricity Department inspected 35 meters with two illegal services removed, there are five pending disconnections. Furthermore, five Instruction to Remove/Repair Notices were served for non-compliance,
• The Home Affairs Department inspected 21 documents resulting in five arrests,
• The Liquor Board had one prosecution which will result in a court appearance and,
• SAPS had one prosecution of R1500.
Coordinator of the blitz, Manager in the Environmental Health Unit Santosh Hansraj, said Environmental Health Services is legislatively mandated for compliance monitoring and enforcement relating to food safety and related matters.
He said the Department conducts routine inspections of all formal and informal food premises such as supermarkets, convenience stores, coffee shops, bakeries, retail meat markets, food processing plants, food warehouses, restaurants, take-aways, taverns and informal food traders.
“Foodborne illnesses can be caused by improper food handling practices, inadequate temperature control, poor food storage practices, improper cleaning of equipment and utensils including food labelling and expired foods. The goal of the Environmental Health Unit inspections is to protect public health by working to minimise adverse impacts on human health that is caused either directly or indirectly. This is accomplished through health inspections, health education and enforcement,” he said.
Hansraj said food premises inspections are conducted one to four times per year depending on the risk level and complexity of the premises.
He said Operation Fiela was a result of a national directive of the National Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi to conduct food blitzes related to concerns of food safety.
Said Hansraj: “All areas targeted in the blitz are covered by routine work carried out by the Environmental Health Department.”
Challenges in the Isiphingo CBD include a high volume of businesses trading within a small area, non-compliance with basic health requirements and the high unemployment rate resulting in people selling food as a source of income without understanding food safety compliance.
Please note, photographs taken during the blitz are available on request.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele.
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