By Kate Rintoul, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Rio’s Municipal Health Bureau has started a course of actions that include rigorous inspections, education of business owners and raids in a bid to improve the city’s food hygiene and safety standards. The strategy will see all establishments including street stalls, snack bars, botecos and hotels in Rio’s busiest areas inspected and bought in line with health requirements.
According to secretary of Health Surveillance and Control the goal is primarily to educate and inform those found in breach of standards, rather than impose penalties with recommendations given through courses and manuals.
Inspectors will evaluate the whole process of preparation and the ability of workers in handling food. If irregularities are found, those responsible for the business are instructed to make changes in regard to storage, handling, maintenance and general cleanliness.
After the first inspection, the establishments are given a deadline to correct any issues. If further surveys find this has not occurred, summons and bans can be issued. In the most serious cases establishments will be prohibited from operating.
The city’s public services are also working together in a concerted efforts to raid larger food preparation and storage facilities. On Wednesday (July 30th) municipal guards, COMLURB (the urban cleaning company), health surveillance staff, and police officers raided an unregistered property on Rua do Lavradio that was used to store street food vending carts and stalls.
Upon inspection it was decided that seven of the carts were deemed unfit for purpose and were confiscated. Inspectors also found that fresh foods including popcorn, biscuits, bacon and sausages were being prepared on the site which found to be far below acceptable hygiene standards. During the raid animal excrement were found in areas of food preparation and 49 carts of trash were were removed from the site.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which supported the operation, issued a ban on using the site and seized 315kg of foods that were unfit for consumption. The owner of the building and the was fined for operating without a permit.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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