Pago Pago (Talanei)-- The Department of Health has warned that businesses that prepare and sell food on their premises may face closure if health permits and certificates for both the food handlers and their businesses are not renewed for 2021.
According to Aileen Solaita of the Environmental Health Division, DOH has closed more than 30 food businesses in American Samoa since January 2021.
She reported that all of the businesses passed inspection to receive their certificates. However, the department later received complaints and re-inspection revealed unsanitary conditions and infractions like expired foods, filthy kitchens, cross-contamination between raw and cooked food and a lack of hot water.
DOH is also monitoring the sale of food items on social media to track down businesses.
An advisory from DOH this week states, “If your business does not have a valid health permit, your business will be forced to shut down until a health inspection has been conducted and you have obtained a valid facility health permit.”
Effective April 1, DOH plans to publicize businesses which have been closed down due to health violations so that the public will see the names of owners and managers. DOH claims there are many repeat offenders.
Solaita explained that people don’t renew their certificates so DOH patrols all the businesses to make sure they are meeting guidelines and to remind them to get their annual permit.
She said DOH is also cracking down on those businesses selling over the counter medicines without approval from the DOH board in charge of regulating sales of medicines in American Samoa.