Inspectorate Ministry VSA recommends all open buffets and self-service condiments be terminated during COVID-19 crisis

Inspectorate Ministry VSA recommends all open buffets and self-service condiments be terminated during COVID-19 crisis

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Food Safety Division of the Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) has observed and continues to do so, violations concerning food safety requirements in establishments that are permitted to open to the public during this outbreak.

It is strongly recommended that all open buffets and self- serve condiments offered to the public be terminated without discretion immediately. These include, but are not limited to self-serve bread service, self-serve juice, coffee stations and ice cream. Allowing the public to access food at such a close proximity and under heightened threat is not recommended and should not continue.

The inspectorate would like the public to use due diligence when shopping and request that food offered under the above mentioned conditions pose a high risk of transfer of pathogens and micro biological matter to and from humans and should under no circumstances should be consumed.

The food safety division is imposing zero tolerance stances on any practice that can endanger the public in the above-mentioned area with emphasis being placed on;

  • Personal hygiene.
  • Handwashing
  • Time & temperature management.
  • Cross-contamination.

What is described as zero tolerance is the immediate stoppage/closure of operations found in violation of any of these mentioned violations, as they are potentially life threatening under our current pandemic situation. Violators also risk a hefty fine.

As a reminder, all food handlers are required to:

  • Follow proper glove, masks and hair restraint procedures when in use.
  • All employees in contact are urged to wash hands after contact with either a customer or colleague or minimum every 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Social distancing in the preparation area must be adhered to as much as possible.
  • All contact surfaces are required to be sanitized at least every (hour) 60 minutes for non-food contact surfaces and every 30 minutes or after every use for food contact surfaces.
  • Any employee that displays flu like symptoms must not be allowed to work in any establishment offering any food or food related products to the public.

All establishments offering these services and requiring clarification of what is permitted please contact the inspector at Ph. 721 520 8809 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

for further information.

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