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Authorities impose strict food stall rules

Food stall owners at the Savalalo market will have to comply with strict hygiene monitoring regulations if they want to continue their business.

The new regulations have the blessing of the town market’s owner Samoa Land Corporation (SLC).

The Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) Assistant C.E.O. (Health Protection and Enforcement), Mae’e Ualesi Silva, confirmed reports of the Ministry issuing ‘health cards’ to food stall owners in a bid to improve hygiene and sanitation at the market.

She told Samoa Observer that they had to shut the food stalls section at the market after an inspection found it unhygienic coupled with the discovery of cockroach infestation.

"The M.O.H. have closed down the market after inspecting it and found that it was really unhygienic and the place is not cleaned, we have given recommendations to Samoa Land Corporation to spray it every three months. But we found cockroaches at the market, hence why we closed it down temporarily," she said.

Mae’e said the checks done by the Ministry will also focus on the health of the food stall operators and will include blood pressure checks.

"We have a form that the stall owner needs to fill which requires them to go through all the checkup that they need for their health," she said.

Food stall operators last week complained about the long processing time that the M.O.H. took before issuing a health card, saying their sales is their only form of income and the delayed processing time was impacting their families. 

However, Mae’e said the health of the public is more important than money and the Ministry will be strict when it enforces the law. 

"The people's health is much more important than money, and once we give out the health cards, the stall owners need to wear it all the time,” she revealed. “And if the inspection comes and the owners are not wearing it, we have the power to shut their stall down.”

An M.O.H. inspection team will do another inspection of the market’s food stalls section before it is declared safe and open for business, according to Mae’e. 

"Until we inspect the market place and say that it is safe for business to begin then that's when they can open it with the health cards of these owners to be received," she said.

A vendor, who sells pork cakes and water under a tent at the market and introduced himself as Elise, said he and his sons have gone to see a doctor for medical checks and are now waiting for their results as well for the health cards. 

"We have done the check up, the (Ministry of) Health has also inspected our tent and they said its good for business because its cleaned, but we are still waiting for our health cards to be issued," he added.

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