Market food stalls closed after inspection
Food stalls at the Savalalo market have been closed after an inspection by health officials on Monday recommended they be shut until health standards are adhered to.
The Savalalo market team leader, Alo Neti Tupai, the Samoa Observer that he decided to close down the place after an inspection by the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) officials found that it did not meet basic health and sanitation standards.
"The Ministry of Health came by and have their normal check up and they say that it is dirty and not healthy for the people, but as we all know for the past few days there was a lot of rain and really heavy for that matter," he said. "Some of these things could have been done by the people who own the food stalls but people are too lazy to clean and some just don't want to listen.”
Mr Tupai said his staff are cleaning the market section where food is sold and they have also sprayed the whole area with pesticide to remove insects.
He said Samoa Land Corporation (S.L.C.), which manages the Savalalo market, had been warned by the M.O.H. to ensure food stall operators provide health them with ‘health cards’, which would give them clearance to sell food.
"Without the health card, the food stall owners will not be able to open their stall, they are to wear the badge on their shirt everyday and every time they are at the market," he added.
But dealing with reckless food stall operators is not the only challenge facing the S.L.C. market team leader, with Mr Tupai revealing that they also have to deal with vendors who have outstanding payments.
"Challenges faced by us is that we have to look after the whole market place, we also have vendors with overdue payments but we are here to make sure everything runs smoothly," he added. "As you can see, we have started cleaning the whole food market and we are ready to open again on Saturday, but right now with the health card which we need to see first, I am not sure. The market will open on Saturday when the Ministry of Health gives their okay signal.”
The health card costs over $100 per food stall operator and takes eight days to process before it can be given to an applicant.