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News  


 

CMC to withhold licences of hotels if...

By Carol Aloysius
With the risk of food-borne diseases such as hepatitis and typhoid now posing a serious hazard to Colombo residents, the CMC has begun conducting several raids with the help of the Police on hundreds of city eateries, including star-class hotels.
Since April this year, it has initiated legal action against 265 unhygienic food outlets after raiding over 800 outlets in the city, and sealed several others, in the Pettah, Dematagoda, Grandpass and Keselwatte areas, after tests had proved that faecal substances were found in water used to cook meals. The water had been taken from tube wells which were contaminated as they were connected to the toilets, sources said.
CMC Medical officer of Health Dr Pradeep Kariyawasam said that following the discovery of communicable diseases like typhoid and hepatitis as well as TB and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among food handlers in star class hotels, who were given a clean bill of health by private doctors when applying for their respective posts , the CMC had decided to take charge of all the medical tests of food handlers and hotel workers in future.

“Since January, we have been doing these tests in our own labs with additional tests for Shigella or bloody diarrhea , E-coli etc to make sure that the hotel clients and other staff are not at risk. What we have found is that many of the food handlers have had or not been immunized against diseases like hepatitis and typhoid. We have also come across around eight cases of persons with Sexually Transmitted Diseases. We are now immunizing these persons and getting them treated. We have also checked over 1,000 people for TB and need to check over 2,000 more. All those with the disease will be treated and we will make sure they are 100 % cured before returning to work”, he said. However, he said that a large number of hotels were still reluctant to let their workers be tested at the municipal laboratory. “We have given them a deadline. If they don’t comply, we will not issue them with their license. Under the new Food Hygiene Regulations an Medical Officer of Health had to certify that each hotel worker had undergone a medical test by an approved medical institution. Since the CMC is the sole authority issuing these licenses,” he said and added that it would not issue licenses to those hotels that don’t comply with this request.