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The City’s Environmental Health Department urges members of the public looking to make extra cash this December to cease and desist from food sales if they do not have the requisite permits. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s Environmental Health Department would like to caution would-be entrepreneurs and the public about selling food without the necessary permission.

Environmental health practitioners have in recent weeks noticed an increase in the number of people selling cooked food from their car boots in the early hours of the morning, particularly around popular nightspots. While the City admires the entrepreneurial spirit of these individuals, the fact is that such sales are illegal and possibly dangerous to consumers.

The sale of food to the public requires a certificate of acceptability and a hawkers’ licence. This is to ensure compliance with all required food safety standards.

‘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,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Health, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli.The Regulations Governing the General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and Transport of Food require the following: 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 regulations place certain responsibilities on the person in charge of the premises and also on the food handlers.

The City’s environmental health practitioners conduct routine inspections of food premises to ensure that these standards and practices are adhered to. Where shortcomings are identified or observed, this is brought to the attention of the management of the food premises by means of an inspection report stipulating the findings or in a notice to the owner/manager to ensure that the shortcomings of the food facility are addressed within a specified time-frame. 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 summons to appear in court).

In terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, fines can be issued for a number of transgressions related to the handling and transportation of food, as well as not having a certificate of acceptability. These fines range from R1 000 to R2 000 per individual charge.

‘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,’ added Councillor Mamkeli.

Members of the public can report any concerns around food safety to their nearest Environmental Health Office or lodge complaint with the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089.

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