Ten food stalls in Luganville closed

Ten Santo food stalls closed due to poor hygiene.

The health department has shut down ten food stalls in Santo’s capital, Luganville, due to poor hygiene standards.

Sanma Rural Health has directed the Luganville Municiple Council to close the ten stalls at Luganville’s Unity Park market and ensure hygiene standards are met before reopening.

Senior Environmental Officer at Sanma Public Health, Marie France Christian, says the department served Luganville Municipal Council with a food premises improvement closure notice on the stalls in April.

“We gave them three months from April to consider the directive but the council has failed to make any improvements,” Mrs Christian said.
“Now we have moved to the second step to close the food stalls.”

“If the Luganville Municipal Council does not take the required action to improve the food stalls, it will guilty of breaching the Food (Control) Act,” Mrs Christian said.
She says, “When the council improves the food stalls, Sanma Public Health will issue another inspection certificate to certify that stalls can reopen.”

One of the Ten food stall vendor, Ruth Edou, says the council has informed vendors whose stalls have been shut down that their stalls will be renovated and will be able to reopen in a month.

Mrs Edou says council has directed the affected vendors to temporarily relocate to near the Sarakata Bridge in Luganville.

“We don’t think temporarily moving to the space near Sarakata Bridge is a good idea because it is an open space and food produce will be exposed to road dust,” she said.
She says vendors are also unhappy that they were given such short notice to close their stalls and relocate.

“With this short notice, we are not prepared to move out.” she told VBTC.

“If the council had notified us three months prior to this closure, we could have identified a proper and safe location to sell our food whilst waiting for the stall improvements by the council.”
Mrs Edou says many of the vendors struggle under cost of living financial pressures and will be heavily impacted by the stall closures.

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