Health inspectors force West Indian Association to postpone event
Strict enforcement of Bermuda’s public health food regulations has forced the postponement of the West Indian Association’s (WIA) annual cultural event.
The “Dine & Dance Around D Caribbean 3” was due to be held on Saturday at the Bermuda College.
WIA President Susan Moore-Williams said: “The Association made this difficult decision after receiving informal notification from the Department of Environmental Health regarding strict enforcement of the statutory provisions.
“This late notification has significantly impacted the event’s planning cycle and the model used to execute our event. We are reviewing the concept, delivery and cost of this event which is already significantly subsidised by the Association and donations from local residents and businesses.”
The main issue centred around the preparation of food for such an event in unlicensed premises.
An Environmental Health spokesperson said: “All foods sold in Bermuda are subject to the Public Health Food Regulations 1950.
“The regulations state that foods should only be prepared and sold at premises holding an appropriate food licence. Catered events should use licensed restaurants and caterers to prepare any foods sold to the public. Under no circumstances should such foods be prepared at home or unlicensed kitchens due to potential food safety risks.”
She noted that temporary food stalls at events are licensed by Environmental Health staff “who conduct appropriate inspections and site visits as needed”.
“All temporary food stall licences should be applied for at least a week ahead of such events or may be subject to late fees or cancellation,” she added.
“Advice given on June 7 from Environmental Health was for the WIA to arrange to use the kitchen facilities at the Bermuda College so that the food safety risks can be better controlled for an event of this size.
“For the event to continue Environmental Health informed the Association it would need to either use licensed caterers and/or a licensed kitchen. And cooks or chefs will have had to have been trained by the department.”
Barring that she said: “They would need to be approved food handlers, as an inspection will be made by the officers to issue the permit.”
Plans are under way to host the event later this year and a new date will be announced in due course. Ticketholders are advised to contact “any member of the Association’s Management Committee for a full refund”.
Ms Moore-Williams added: “Like many local charitable organisations, we depend on the support of residents and the business community and we are grateful for all those who have already made commitments to this event.”
She went on to thank “members, friends and the public for their continued and valued patronage”.