RECENTLY the media reported suspected cases of food poisoning in restaurants and hotels. In the latest incident, twenty one people were rushed to King Faisal Hospital in Kigali after suspected food poisoning at a big hotel. The group included visitors from neighbouring countries who had come for a workshop in Kigali.
Many of the cases have been reported at places where the highest standards of hygiene should be observed. It is in places whose core business is selling foods and beverages. Hygiene should be the primary objective in maintaining and running a hotel or restaurant. The recent cases raise questions about the effectiveness in monitoring and regulating the food business.
When one or two restaurants are implicated in such incidents, they give a bad image to the many stakeholders in the food and hotel business who are meeting the required hygiene and standards. Stern measures should be taken against the hotels or restaurants where such incidents have occured.
Health experts say the source of poor food in some restaurants could primarily be the poor storage facilities. Food stores are supposed to be hygienic. The health inspectors should ensure that food joints which don't meet the basic food storage standards are closed down. A crack down on restaurants that don't meet the minimum standards should be an ongoing exercise until all people in the food business adhere to the minimum hygiene requirements.
In extreme cases, licenses of perpetual culprits should be revoked.
Hotels and restaurants should be compelled to have hygienic kitchens and food storage facilities. The cooks should be medically examined and fit to avoid transmitting food-borne diseases. Every food business must meet the food and hygiene conditions before it is licensed.