The following is issued on behalf of the Provisional Regional Council:
The Regional Services Department (RSD) today (Thursday) stepped up inspections of some 320 poultry outlets in the Provisional Regional Council (Pro RC) area in the wake of the discovery of a new strain of bird flu virus in humans.
An RSD spokesman said that the inspections were aimed at checking whether poultry retailers had observed environmental and personal hygiene requirements and giving them advice and warnings where appropriate.
"To upgrade the cleanliness of poultry outlets for the prevention of bird flu, the Pro RC introduced in March last year a set of additional conditions in both market stall tenancy agreements and fresh provision shop (FPS) licences," he said.
"The additional conditions mainly require poultry retailers to disinfect and cleanse their premises, equipment, utensils and bird cages with hot water as well as remove waste generated everyday and wear clean, white protective clothing and headgear."
After a 90-day grace period, the additional conditions came into effect in June last year. Up to the end of last year, a total of 1,721 verbal warnings and 169 warning letters were issued due to late compliance.
The spokesman reminded retailers that repeated irregularities could lead to the cancellation of their market stall tenancy agreements or FPS licences.
"I am pleased that in general they have been very co-operative and willing to comply with our advice. So far no one has had their tenancy agreements or licences cancelled," he said.
To maintain a healthy environment for both market shoppers and stall lessees, the Pro RC has been making use of high- pressure water jets to cleanse the common areas in its markets thrice a day.
"If it is necessary, the cleansing frequency for individual markets will be increased," the spokesman remarked.
End/Thursday, April 8, 1999