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Antigua: Calls for laws to govern fast-food restaurants

The country’s chief health inspector is calling for the enactment of laws to regulate the number of new fast-food restaurants that are allowed to set-up shop in Antigua at any given time.

Sharon Martin, made the statement to OBSERVER media yesterday while lamenting that her department is hamstrung due to a shortage of manpower and is unable to cope with ensuring that businesses, especially restaurants, are complying with proper health standards.

The response from the chief health official was triggered by a complaint that a popular Chinese restaurant, on the outskirts of St. John’s, is violating several health regulations.

“We need to have laws to govern the operation of each restaurant. As it is now, someone can just come on Thursday and by the weekend they are selling. We need laws to govern those sorts of things or else it will transcend our coping ability,” Martin said.

She explained that the department is currently staffed with 12 individuals – mostly junior officers who are untrained in public health.

“We can’t visit a restaurant today and by the end of the month revisit unless we have a specific complaint about it. We try our best to visit some businesses, in some places where you only had one restaurant, you look around and now there are six. We do not have the manpower to keep up,” Martin stressed.

Meanwhile, the report, about unsanitary conditions at the fast food restaurant, was accompanied by photographs which have since gone viral.

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