The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s Bureau of Environmental Health is advising those dispensing food for whatever purposes to practice proper food storage and delivery procedures.
In a notice Monday, the bureau noted a “significant increase” in the number of reports of individuals or companies dispensing food either at fixed locations or through mobile delivery vehicles without properly securing food during transport or maintaining food safety standards.
The bureau, which is responsible for enforcing regulations on food safety, requires all food dispensaries in the CNMI to meet minimum standards to keep consumables safe from the beginning of food processing to the point of consumer consumption.
The bureau recommends that caterers, businesses, and non-profit groups delivering food to the public to follow the recommended food storage and delivery procedures, such as using a delivery vehicle that is suitable for the transport of food; not leaving food deliveries exposed to the elements; and using hygienic and suitable clothes while dispensing food, among others.
Perishable food must be kept at appropriate temperatures during transport to avoid the growth of bacteria. BEH recommends that hot food be kept at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit and above; cold food be chilled to temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit; using coolers or insulated bags to maintain holding temperatures; and all deliveries be completed within two hours after food is prepared.
For more questions or concerns on the safety of food or drinks delivered, contact BEH at 234-8950 ext. 2920 or 2915, or email BEH director John Tagabuel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To report an incident of mishandled food, information such as the license plate number, time, date, and dispensing location of the food or drink should be provided.