Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
Masvingo City Council has launched a blitz on unlicensed food vendors in and around the city as part of efforts to curb the spread of diseases.
The local authority’s acting chief environmental health officer Mr Ngonidzashe Mapamula said yesterday that they were concerned with the mushrooming of illegal tuckshops selling food.
He said health inspectors will soon start closing the premises.
Mr Mapamula said under the country’s laws, all food outlets should get health certification before starting any operations.
He said those operating without health licences were doing it illegally.
“Our health inspectors are moving around the city fining illegal food outlets and stopping their activities.
“We always carry out routine checks, but we intensified the blitz starting this month. We want to protect our residents from diseases,” said Mr Mapamula.
He said while they (council) appreciated the current economic hardships in the country it was important for all business people dealing in food and catering sector to do so under the dictates of the law.
“Food handling is a critical area, which needs certification according to Public Health Act as well as Food and Food Standards Act.
“Our residents should be fully aware that selling food items without health certificates is a criminal offence and that they risk prosecution.
“In terms of the law and standard practice, all premises selling food should be inspected and certified fit before there is any activity,” he said.
According to recent full council minutes, several illegal food vendors been arrested and fined.
“It was reported that a total of six illegal sadza vendors were arrested in March and fined. In addition, 15 illegal food vendors were arrested in the previous months and also fined for their illegal activities. A total of $1000 was raised from the fines,” read part of the minutes.
Residents, especially the working public, flock to unlicensed food outlets during lunch, where prices are relatively affordable oblivion of the health risks.