Individuals or companies selling food or drinks out of makeshift stores or even cars without securing sanitary permits have raised alarm bells for the Bureau of Environmental Health.
In a statement yesterday, the bureau said these vendors peddle food items such as hot lunches, snacks, vegetables, etc. and operate from fixed establishments and/or mobile delivery vehicles without securing sanitary permits.
“Pursuant to CNMI statute, Public Law 12-48 and the public health food regulations, all dispensed food and drink shall lawfully meet minimum standards to keep consumables safe from the beginning of food processing to the point of consumer consumption,” the bureau said.
The agency added that subsequent sections in the regulations require all food service establishment employees and/or employers obtain a food handlers certificate, validating the completion of mandatory food safety training and health examination.
The bureau recommends that consumers take an interest in their own health by assessing the health risk of food/drink purchased from unmarked mobile delivery vehicles, unlabeled packaged meat, and unmarked delivery vehicles transporting food, water, vegetables, or meat.
The agency strongly recommends that consumers:
Only purchase hot food kept at temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit and above
Only purchase cold food, such as sandwiches, kept at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Ensure that vegetables purchased are kept at a chilled temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Ensure that raw meat and daily caught fish are chilled and iced to temperatures of 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit
In addition, delivery vehicles must carry a sanitary permit that is accessible for inspection by customers or bureau should be available for verification upon request.
BEH said customer complaints have alleged that many food and drink delivery vehicles are transporting goods without business placards on the vehicle signifying that the vehicle is compliant with bureau requirements for a sanitary permit.
Should you have any questions or concerns about food or drinks being sold, contact the bureau on Navy Hill at 664-4872/73/76, fax concerns to 664-4871, or email John Tagabuel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helpful information to have on hand when reporting a complaint to the BEH office include license plate number, time, date, and location of food/drink dispensed. (PR)