According to World Health Organisation statistics, an estimated 600 million people in the world fall ill because of contaminated food. A shocking 420 000 of these cases result in deaths.
The National Department of Health is responsible for ensuring the safety of food in South Africa. To this end, the Department promulgates relevant legislation to regulate the production, distribution, and preparation of food.
New innovations in food production, as well as the re-emergence of food-borne diseases, require that legislation is amended to address changing conditions and environments.
The National Department of Health promulgated REGULATIONS GOVERNING GENERAL HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD PREMISES, THE TRANSPORT OF FOOD AND RELATED MATTERS, R 638 OF 22 JUNE 2018 under the FOODSTUFFS, COSMETICS AND DISINFECTANTS ACT, 1972 (ACT 54 OF 1972)
The Municipal Health Department of Garden Route District Municipality has the legislative responsibility to enforce Regulation 638 in its area of jurisdiction. With the additions to Regulation 638, it is deemed necessary to communicate the application of the regulation to the general public.
Take note: Regulation 638 replaced Regulation 962 of 23 November 2012 and Regulation 918 of 30 July 1999. Certificates of Acceptability (COA) issued in terms of repealed regulations, expire on 22 June 2019. This means that all food premises, new and existing, have to be in possession of a new Certificate of Acceptability issued under Regulation 638 by said date under the name of Garden Route District Municipality.
Regulation 638 is applicable to every establishment that handles, prepares, transport and/or sells food to the general public. Accordingly, all such establishments are required to be in possession of valid Certificates of Acceptability (COA).
It is important to note that the Certificate of Acceptability is:
- issued in terms of Regulation 5 and 6, addressing the Standards and requirements for food premises and the standards and requirements for facilities on food premises, respectively;
- issued in the name of the person in charge of the premises and not in the name of the establishment. “Person in charge” is a natural person who is responsible for the food premises or the owner of the food premises;
- Not transferable from one person to another person or from one food premises to another;
- a person may not effect changes in respect of food premises for which a Certificate of acceptability has been issued in terms of sub-regulation (5), relating to the provisions of regulations 5 and 6, without informing the local authority in advance and in writing of such changes; and
- a Certificate of Acceptability must be clearly displayed on the food premises for which it was issued. Should display of a certificate be impractical, it should immediately be made available upon request by the Environmental Health Practitioner or the general public.
How do I apply for a COA?
- A fully completed, written application form has to be submitted to the relevant local District Municipality, in this case, the Garden Route District Municipality. An amount of R190.00 is payable as an administration fee for the 2018/2019 financial year.
- If an Environmental Health Practitioner, after having carried out an inspection, is satisfied that the food premise concerned, complies with the provisions of Regulations 5 and 6; a local authority in all respects, he or she shall issue a Certificate of Acceptability in the name of the person in charge.
Does one need specific or specialised training as the person in charge of food premises?
The person in charge of food premises must ensure that –
- He or she and any other person working on the food premises, are suitably qualified or otherwise adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and hygiene. The training must be conducted by an accredited training provider or by an Environmental Health Practitioner of the relevant District Municipality; in this case Garden Route District Municipality.
- Assessments are conducted to determine the impact of the training.
- Training programmes and records are kept and routinely updated and are made available to an Environmental Health Practitioner on request.
- Evidence of accredited training must be submitted to the relevant District municipality before/on 22ndJune 2019.
Please contact the Garden Route District Municipal Health offices in your area, should you need more information with regards to any aspect of the Regulation.
George: 044 8031522
Mossel Bay: 044 693 0006
Hessequa: 028 713 2438
Oudtshoorn: 044 272 2241
Knysna: 044 382 7214
Plettenberg Bay: 044 501 1600