The City of Cape Town’s Environmental Health Department has warned entrepreneurs and the public to avoid selling food without the proper permissions.
The City of Cape Town, in a statement on Tuesday, said Environmental Health practitioners had noticed in recent weeks the increase in the number of people selling cooked food from their car boots during the early hours of the morning.
Committee Member for Health Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli said: “We do not want to be the Grinch that steals people’s entrepreneurial spirit, but we have a duty to protect the public. There are laws around the preparation and transportation of food that City Health has to enforce. We cannot turn a blind eye, as that would not be fair to legal traders or the public in the event that someone gets sick. Food preparation is difficult enough as it is, but with the summer months upon us, the risk of food spoiling is so much higher.”
According to the City, the regulations guide on General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and Transport of Food requires an appropriate and acceptable premises; maintenance of good hygiene practices, including personal hygiene of all food handlers; cold-chain maintenance; effective food storage practices; maintenance of food at safe temperatures as prescribed in the legislation; safe and hygienic working environments when preparing and serving food; and measures to prevent contamination of food.
The City’s environmental health practitioners run routine inspections of food premises to make sure the standards were adhered to. Shortcomings were observed and brought the attention of management by means of an inspection report, along with a specific time frame in which they are to be addressed.
Fines can range from R1 000 to R2 000 per individual charge in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act. “In case of further non-compliance after serving the notice, a fine can be issued to the owner of the premises or legal proceedings can be instituted (in the case of a summons to appear in court).”
Mamkeli added: “I encourage members of the public who want to sell food to visit their nearest Environmental Health Office to establish what exactly the requirements are so that they do not fall foul of the law. We will have to act against anyone who persists with illegal food sales.”