16 January 2018

Namibia: Not Enough Health Inspectors for Food Outlets

Windhoek — The City of Windhoek is faced with a shortage of health inspectors and as a consequence food outlets are selling expired food to the public. "We do not have enough health inspectors to do inspections at each shop every day, but we are trying to visit each shop and business once a month," explained City of Windhoek (CoW) spokesperson Lydia Amutenya.

Amutenya was responding to questions from New Era regarding public complaints that a number of food outlets sell expired food while displaying valid fitness certificates issued by the City of Windhoek's health division.

The Health Services Division forms part of the Department of Economic Development and Community and is responsible for the regulation of health in the general public in the city. The department carries out inspection, and approval, of food and non-food related businesses, inspections of informal markets and of shebeen and home shops.

A resident of Khomasdal 27 who spoke to New Era on condition of anonymity, said that some of the local food outlets are selling old food on the shelves.

"These people are selling us food that can make us sick. Sometimes you find a shop (mentions local shop) that is selling meat that has turned green," said the concerned resident. According to the resident the health inspectors are nowhere to be seen.

Amutenya stated that no food outlet is allowed to sell any food that is unfit for human consumption as it is deemed an offence - but the city has not received complaints of such nature thus far.

"In cases where we receive complaints of food outlets selling expired or food unfit for human consumption, our health inspectors go and investigate such complaints and remove and order the destruction of such food articles under their supervision and that is done on top of our routine," explained Amunyela.

According to the city, health inspectors have other responsibilities or duties apart from shop inspections, which is why it is important for residents to report to the health service division any food outlets selling food unfit for human consumption.

"Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with our laws commit an offence and is liable to a fine or imprisonment or both," warned Amunyela.

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