Inspectorate of Health will continue inspections

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten –  On behalf of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (VSA) there are a few misconceptions that need to be clarified. The Inspectors of VSA will continue as normal to conduct their inspections as it pertains to compliance to food safety, however the joint inspections are currently under review by the Council of Ministers.

“As Minister responsible for the safety of the health of the population and the visitors to our country, ensuring restaurants and business that are handling food are in compliance remains a  priority.

Although I do understand the concerns of the business community as it pertains to the negative effect it may have on the economy during the height of our tourist season, compliance is essential toward securing the well-being of our population” said Minister Emil Lee in an invited statement on Tuesday.

In reference to stopping the operations where food was being handled by the Point Restaurant at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, as of Monday morning the restaurant still remains closed. On Saturday, the Inspectorate of Health made a visit to ensure that tourist establishments could reopen as soon as possible, however the Point restaurant was still not compliant.

It is important for the business community to understand why inspections are based on random searches and no notification is sent in advance as the Inspectorate needs to gather a realistic view of your daily operations. Inspectorate regulations are quite lenient when it comes to reasons for closure.

Top Reasons to Stop Operations

Majority of the reasons for urgent closure are 1. Pest infestation (cockroaches, mice, rats, flies) as well as feces and 2. no running water available.

The two other types of sanctions are not so detrimental to the operations of a business, these include immediate action/correction on site and warning letter with an obligation to remedy the violation(s) within 1 to 3 weeks depending on the violation.

In order to boost compliance, Minister Lee is urging all interested businesses to email in order to receive a list of the top non-compliance issues the Inspectorate of Health is currently encountering.

Source: 721 news Inspectorate of Health will continue inspections