105.63kgs of foodstuffs destroyed by Environmental Health
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The Environmental Health Directorate within the Superintendence of Public Health is making every effort to keep its contact with the public through a regular review statement.
The following is a summary of actions taken during May 2013.
The following is a summary of the report hereunder:
o 501 improvement notices were issued;
o 4 HACCP audits were carried out;
o 9 undertakings were issued;
o 105.6kg of foodstuffs and 610kg of melamine plates were destroyed;
o 12 Legionella audits carried out;
o 33 swimming pools were audited during 13 audits;
o 13 schools inspected;
o 12 abatement notices issued;
o 55 consignments of imported food were inspected;
o 1828 notifications of food and 15 of food supplements for importing/trading into Malta;
o 743 personal parcels checked of which 17 were rejected;
o 16 Ship Sanitation certificates were issued;
o 95 applications were processed;
o 1978 control cards for narcotics and psychotropic substances were issued;
o 10 illegal tobacco related adverts and 2 illegal tattoo adverts were removed;
o 611 samples were elevated and analysed;
o 9 products recalled;
o 15 citations issued/processed;
o 628 complaints were lodged with the Health Inspectorate.
Improvement Notices Issued to Food Business Operators Five hundred and one improvement notices in terms of article 33 of the Food Safety Act were issued to food business operators by the Health Inspectorate Services. During this period 56 improvement notices were also issued to open market stalls.
An improvement notice is sent to all food business operators following an unannounced inspection by Environmental Health Officers within their establishment. The intention of this notice is to inform food operators about deficiencies noted in their establishments while the operator is given a specific deadline in order to rectify these deficiencies. Though the seriousness of deficiencies might vary, legal action is initiated when major deficiencies are noted.
Four HACCP audits were carried out. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point is a Food Safety Management System which is obligatory in those food businesses providing high risk foods.
9 undertakings were entered into by the Health Inspectorate, and concerned several food and environmental health related issues.
Undertakings are legal agreements between the operators and the Health Authority specifying deadlines by which deficiencies in their premises should be remedied in compliance with standing legislation. Failure to abide with the agreed deadlines results in Court proceedings being initiated.
Destruction of Food
The amount of foodstuffs destroyed by the Health Inspectorate was 105.627kgs.
These foodstuffs included:
Meat and poultry products 56.4kg
Fresh and frozen vegetables 11.kg
Bakery items 10.3kg
Prepared snacks 2.3kg
Fish products 4.9kg
Confectionery items 16.7kg
Sauces, spices and delicatessen 4kg
610 kg (3072 in number) melamine plates were also destroyed during this month.
Legionella Audits and Pool Inspections
Twelve audits at Hotels, and other similar premises to ascertain compliance with Control of Legionella Regulations, 2006 (L.N. 5 of 2006) and the Registration of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations, 2006 (L.N. 6 of 2006) were performed by the Health Inspectorate.
Thirty-three swimming pools were inspected during thirteen audits carried out by the Health Inspectorate to verify compliance with Swimming Pools Regulations, 2005 (L.N. 129 of 2005). 3 new pools were registered with the Health Authority during this month. This regulation specifies that all swimming pools with the exception of those situated at a single family residence need to register with this Directorate. A list of registered pools can be found in the Directorate’s website mentioned below.
Inspections of Schools
13 schools were inspected to ensure compliance with general hygiene requirements. Such inspections are carried out in private, government or church owned schools and whether, primary, secondary, tertiary or language or special schools.
12 abatement notices were issued by the Health Inspectorate in terms of the Public Health Act in view of inspections and audits carried out in the previous days.
Fifty-five consignments of food imported/traded into Malta were also inspected by Environmental Health Officers attached with the Port Health Services within this Directorate.
Consignments Documentary checks
1828 requests for importation/trading of foodstuffs and 15 requests for importation of food supplements were submitted to the Port Health Services.
743 personal consignments were also screened by the Port Health Services, of which 17 were rejected.
Ship Sanitation Certificates
Sixteen Ship Sanitation Certificates were issued by the Port Health Services. These inspections are carried out in terms of the International Health Regulations of 2005 and involve the assessment of the general hygienic conditions and control measures undertaken on ships. A Ship Sanitation Certificate needs to be renewed every 6 months at an authorised port; Malta being an authorised port.
Applications and Consultations
The Health Inspectorate received 95 requests to process applications to operate food and non-food business. Prospective operators who wish to open such businesses are obliged to apply for a permit with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) and then apply for the actual licence with the competent authority such as the Trade Licensing Unit or Malta Tourism Authority. At every stage, this Directorate is consulted in order to verify suitability of proposed premises.
Control Cards for Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances
1978 control cards for narcotic and psychotropic substances (776 males and 1202 females) were issued by the Drug Control Unit, which is another unit falling under the Health Inspectorate Services. 218 of these cards were new applications.
These cards are issued when a medical doctor deems that a person needs to be prescribed a psychotropic drug. An application form is filled in and handed over to the patient which is in turn submitted to the Drug Control Unit, Shop 12, City Gate, Valletta Tel; 21245490.
10 adverts involving Tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes in breach of Tobacco (Smoking Control) Act were noticed on local sites and the respective advertisers and webmasters were instructed to remove such adverts – something which was actually complied with.
Two adverts of tattoo equipment were also noted to be contravention of the Control of Tattooing Act.
611 samples were elevated by the Health Inspectorate and submitted to the Public Health Laboratory for analysis and/or examination for several parameters.
Nine products were recalled.
Fifteen contraventions were issued/processed by the Health Inspectorate, seven of which were related to food safety issues:
A retailer for not having appropriate washing facilities, another retailer for not being registered with FSC and another operator for employing unregistered food handlers;
An individual for keeping food inside a vehicle not at a suitable temperature and keeping food in risk of contamination;
A butcher shop for not adhering with the licence conditions and not having proper traceability;
One operator for not abiding to an undertaking; and
Another operator for not having proper traceability and also having products with misleading labelling.
Eight were environmental health related:
One individual for keeping a garage with accumulation of rubbish; Two individuals for keeping accumulations of stagnant and dirty water;
Three individuals for smoking in public places;
One individual for smoking in an enclosed place and one individual for permitting smoking in same enclosed space.
Emergency Control Orders
No emergency control orders were issued against operators.
Emergency Prohibition Orders
No emergency prohibition orders were issued against operators.
628 complaints were lodged with the Directorate which were categorised in one or more category, as follows:
o Food related complaints
134 complaints were related to food. The most common type of food related complaints were: improper labeling (25 complaints), risk of contamination (18 complaints), storage of food (15 complaints), fitness of food (13 complaints) and hygiene of food premises (13 complaints).
o Other Environmental Health related complaints
Another 569 complaints were environmental health related. The most common complaints were: pest infestations (126 complaints), infiltrations (120 complaints), accumulation of refuse (33 complaints), foul smells (32 complaints), keeping of animals in unhygienic conditions (30 complaints), leakage/defective drains (21 complaints).
Note: The number of complaints and the number of categories do not tally, since one complaint received may encompass one or more categories.
The Environmental Health Directorate takes this opportunity to remind the public that it can contact the Health Inspectorate Services between 08:000am and 3:00pm on telephone number 21337333, by calling personally at its offices at Continental Business Centre, Old Railway Track, Santa Venera or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, the public is also encouraged to visit the Directorate’s website at URL: https://ehealth.gov.mt/HealthPortal/public_health/environmental-health/department_for_env_health.aspx or on its facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Environmental-Health-Directorate-Malta/145027878928626