THE City Health Department (CHD) admitted Wednesday that it lacks the staff to regulate and inspect vendors selling various street foods.
CHD consultant Dr. Ignacio Moreno said that checking the sanitation of the street food vendors would be impossible.
“It is difficult to monitor them since they only operate in the late afternoon to night time,” Moreno told reporters during the first day inspection of the CHD in food shops in one of the malls here Wednesday.
‘Proven’ (or proventriculus is part of the digestive system of birds, invertebrates and insects), ‘siomai,’ ‘kwek-kwek’ (boiled egg dipped in flour and deep-fried), are just some examples of street food being sold in the city, usually near campuses.
Moreno admitted the lapses are due to lack of manpower in CHD to inspect all food establishments in the city.
In every five barangays, one sanitation inspector is designated.
“There is an obvious reason why we cannot monitor everything. We lack people in the department to cover every single establishment out there,” he added.
However, there is a personnel limitation when hiring more people since it will go through the city council.
Moreno also admitted there is a significant shortage of midwives and doctors at the CHD at present.
“We do have health monitoring for the vendors where they will be given health cards. That’s the least thing we can do for now,” he said.
A white health card is given to employees who handle food since this is one of the requirements of the CHD.
CHD sanitation inspector Eva Babiera said the card’s purpose is to prove that the employee does not have health problems.
“There is X-ray, stool test, and many more that will really add proof that they are free from tuberculosis and other diseases,” Babiera said.
Aside from the employees’ health cards being inspected, the three teams of the CHD inspected food establishments according to cleanliness of food utensils, food protection, kitchen, construction premises, toilet provision, handwashing facilities, and disposal of liquid waste, among others.
If the establishment fails in one of the qualifications, CHD will issue a sanitary order where they are given a considerable amount of time to comply.
“It is a slow pacing since it is an establishment. They will change some ways basing on what we have evaluated, but not immediate pud siguro,” she said.
CHD will continue inspecting every single establishment in the city until everything has been evaluated.
When CHD makes the rounds, food establishments are not informed.