Public Health Inspector from the Clarendon Health Services, Gabrielle Jackson, who is the Zone Supervisor for the Spalding Health District, explained that normally persons who work in food establishments would take a test for the food handler’s permit, but for the Chinese nationals, the language barrier has been playing a part in maintaining satisfactory levels of food safety compliance.
The Public Health Inspector noted that the Clarendon team decided to take a new approach and train the Chinese nationals and their Jamaican workers in an effort to assist them more with functioning effectively and adhering to the food safety requirements.
“We had a desire to do something that would make a change, a difference. We initiated the workshop which would train the Chinese nationals in the required food safety areas. We had to meet them half way because they weren’t able to close the facilities to attend the training and so we decided to take the training to them and have the training in groups” Ms. Jackson added.
Some 24 Chinese nationals were trained recently in areas of personal hygiene, food protection, proper hand washing, solid waste management, food storage, pest control, general sanitation, keeping bathrooms clean and how a food handler should dress. The Jamaican workers were trained on November 14 in workplace ethics, interpersonal relationships, and also how to deal with the language barrier.
Ms. Jackson pointed out that the trainings have been successful as the group used interpreters and presentation tools to assist with the workshops.
“Some of the Chinese nationals have little knowledge of the English Language so we had to get dramatic and practical which we realized resulted in them understanding us better. We gave them group work and they had to make presentations on what they would do on a written food handler’s permit examination, and the groups did very well. They will receive their food handler’s certification at a later time” Ms. Jackson said.
The workshop will become standardized in the parish and the team will conduct assessments and maintain relationships to assess the success of the programme. The establishments will be visited at intervals and the PHI team will continue to work with the establishments to assist with its challenges.
In expressing his gratitude for the partnership, Michael Mao, who also functioned as an interpreter, noted that the workshop was a wonderful idea that the Chinese nationals really appreciate.
“We are happy, we are happy. You have helped us to do better and this is very helpful for the Chinese. We now know how to make things better for the customers. We have learnt a lot, we know how to store things better. This is wonderful.”