Within eight months, the Public Health Inspectorate body in Clarendon has seen their compliance rate regarding food safety, move from 20 to 80 percent, among Chinese nationals.
This is the result of an initiative by the team to train Chinese nationals and their Jamaican workers in food safety, in order to improve the standards in their establishments.
Public Health Inspector (PHI) from the Clarendon Health Services, Gabrielle Jackson, who is the Zone Supervisor for the Spalding Health District, explained that the language barrier has been a challenge for the Chinese nationals in maintaining satisfactory levels of food safety compliance.
“Ninety percent of the supermarkets and wholesale businesses in the towns of Frankfield and Spalding in Clarendon are owned by Chinese nationals and so the team decided in 2018 to take a new approach and train the Chinese nationals and their Jamaican workers in an effort to assist them more with functioning effectively and adhering to the food safety requirements” Ms. Jackson said.
The Public Health Inspector pointed out that this year’s workshop has exceeded expectations, adding that:
“This year our sessions were very interactive and we had more practical sessions. I know the compliance results will be better because the participants demonstrated during their assessment just how much they have grasped regarding food safety. The Chinese have also requested that this programme be shared with their colleagues in other parts of the island.”
Ms. Jackson said the workshop has become standardized in Clarendon, adding that the team conducts assessments and maintain the relationships, in order to sustain the success of the programme. The establishments are also visited periodically by the PHI team to assess and assist with any challenges.
Some 50 Chinese nationals and their Jamaican workers were trained from November 6 to 8 at the Spalding United Church Hall in Spalding, Clarendon in areas of personal hygiene, ethics and interpersonal skills and cleaning and sanitization. Other areas included: food storage, pest control, hand washing techniques, solid waste management and public health legislations and regulations.
Chief Public Health Inspector for Clarendon, Linnees Green-Baker welcomed the workshop, noting that it has broken barriers of misconception and misinformation because Public Health Inspectors are normally seen as persons who close businesses.
“You are valued stakeholders in food safety and we recognize the sacrifice that you have made to be here to participate in this workshop. We want to see you do well and set a high standard for food safety in the parish” Mrs. Green-Baker told the participants.
In expressing his gratitude for the partnership, Vice President of the Jamaica Guangdong Association, Michael Mao, who also functioned as an interpreter, noted that the workshop was a wonderful idea that the Chinese nationals really appreciate.
“We are happy, we are happy. The language barrier has always been a challenge and we thank the team for taking the time to address this challenge. This is a good partnership for the Jamaicans and the Chinese. The team has helped us to understand the requirements and this is very helpful for the Chinese. We now know how to make things better for the customers. We have learnt a lot, we know how to store things better. This is wonderful” Mr. Mao said.