“Prevention is better than detection,” stated San Pedro Health Inspector Thomas Flowers as the reason for the new Food Handler’s Training. Incepted since mid-year, the Environmental Health Unit for the Central Health Region in the Ministry of Health launched their Food Handlers Training and Certification Program which is a requirement, once a year, for every food handler. Last Friday, 20 people attended the workshop and proudly received their certificates.
The Certification of Food Handlers prior to commencement of work in the food service industries is not new and is mandated by the Public Health Laws of Belize. The legal requirement to acquire a Food Handler’s Certificate previously was to pass a laboratory analysis conducted by the Food Handlers Clinic.
However, this practice has changed in light of new global policies in food trade as well as with the implementation of the new certification program. The new process seeks to limit the processing of stool specimen to obtain a Food Handler’s Certificate, to a system of training and education of food handlers, to improve their skills in food safety, preparation, cleaning, food borne illnesses and prevention.
At renewal, each food handler must make an appointment at their local Public Health Department by contacting health Inspector Thomas Flowers at the PolyClinic II to obtain an appointment date for training. The following are guidelines to get certified: (1) have 2 passport size photos, (2) fill out an application to register for training, (3) pay a $20 fee at the San Pedro Sub-Treasury, (4) obtain a date to sit training, (5) return to training on date specified, (6) on day of training, each person must undergo a health interview followed by training, (7) at conclusion of training, each person must take an exam and satisfactorily pass with 70% or higher, and (8) the food handler’s permit is issued (7 days after) if the person is successful.
“The skills gained through the training will make your businesses operate in a more safe and healthy environment that can only make it become more competitive and marketable in a global context,” ended Flowers.
Food handlers are asked to take note of the change in Food Handler’s Certification procedure as it has become effective and to please check with Health Inspector Flowers to find out when the next available date is. Workshops take place on Fridays and the certificates are valid for one year. Kindly contact Flowers at number (601) 3637. http://sanpedrosun.net/08-424.html