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Summerside Farmers Market vendor hit with warning letter

A vendor at the Summerside Farmers Market landed in hot water with provincial health inspectors recently over problems that involved poor hand-washing practices.

Out of Africa received a warning letter from inspectors during a routine inspection on Feb. 10. Five violations were noted.

It was charged with failure to provide handwashing facilities that are adequately designed, appropriately located, unobstructed for the exclusive use of employees and in number suitable for the operation.

The vendor was also flagged over failure to have employees wash hands as necessary to prevent the contamination of food or equipment.

A third violation centred around failure to provide hot and cold potable water in sufficient quantity and pressure.

Other food safety inspections

The following food premise establishments also received a warning letter in February:

- Inspection, Feb. 2: St. Stephens Anglican Church Hall, Kensington, operating without a valid food premise licence. Re-inspection, Feb. 5, situation resolved

- Inspection, Feb. 7: Tignish Co-op Gar Bar, operating without a valid food premise licence. Re-inspection, Feb. 7, situation resolved

Fourth on the list of violations was that no employee with the vendor had valid food safety training.

The final violation comes down to paperwork, basically. The vendor was operating without a valid food premise licence. Of all violations that plague food premise establishments across the province, this is the most common one.

Kelly Hughes, senior environmental health officer with the Department of Health and Wellness, said the handwashing issue is being addressed even though inspectors haven’t been back, yet for the re-inspection.

“It’s my understanding that (the vendor) has been repositioned so they’re in a suitable location (for handwashing),’’ Hughes said Monday. “They’re installing a handwashing area as well. They’re getting to work on getting something in place there. They’ve set up something temporary for now, is my understanding, but they’re meeting the requirements (of health inspectors) now.’’

As for the food safety course, Hughes said a worker with the vendor will be signed up for a future food safety course.

Hughes said the market is going to let inspectors know when the handwashing station and sink installation is complete before the re-inspection occurs.

In addition, the vendor has applied for a valid licence.

Until the re-inspection occurs, the health inspector’s website will still register that the status with the vendor is unsatisfactory.

But, says Hughes, “the most critical things have been addressed’’.

The warning letter is part of a graduated level of enforcement health inspectors use when it comes to a food premise. If a business hasn’t addressed necessary issues, inspectors can then issue a notice of intent to issue a health order. If the issue or issues still haven’t been addressed, inspectors can turn to the third, and most serious of the three levels, which is the actual health order. That gives health inspectors the authority to shut down the business.

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