Bill Will Regulate Bahamas Food Vendors

Tuesday 03rd, August 2010 / 13:36 Published by

THE proliferation of fish, conch and food vendors selling their wares roadside and without the proper storage and regulatory regimes in place, will be addressed with the implementation of the proposed Business License Act 2010, Member of Parliament for Killarney Dr Hubert Minnis told Parliament Monday.

Dr Minnis, who serves as Minister of Health, said the roadside operations can have a negative impact on the health infrastructure of the Bahamas if not properly regulated, as high temperatures can cause the immediate putrefaction of fish, conch and food items when they are not properly stored and/or maintained.

“This results in those items undergoing changes very rapidly and so when a consumer believes he or she is getting a quality product, in the matter of a day or so, they find themselves suffering from food poisoning,” Dr Minnis said.

The Health Minister said the regulation of the fish, food and conch vending businesses will allow officials to ensure that all entrepreneurs in those business areas are licensed and are following the proper protocols and procedures that are necessary to prevent food poisoning and other illnesses due to improper operations.

“The introduction of the proposed Business License Act 2010 will allow for this sector to be better regulated to the point whereby we cannot only improve the quality of the product, but also place the vendor in a better position to improve their circumstances and make even more,” Dr Minnis added.

He said a similar situation exists with fruit vendors.

“Fruit, again exposed to the external heat, will undergo the same changes and therefore affect our health sector in terms of increasing food poisoning,” Dr Minnis said.

He said the regulation of the vending industry will also allow Bahamian small business owners to “enjoy a greater slice of the economic pie,” as the “formalisation of the system” will discourage competition between Bahamian small businesses and illegal operations run by illegal immigrants.

“The illegal immigrants will not be able to qualify for becoming a part of the vending mechanism (as) they will not be able to get a licence because the licences will have certain specifications and regulations,” Dr Minnis said.

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