City council defends New Thriving non-closure
Stabroek News
April 18, 2004

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The city council could not act on the Food and Drug Department's (FDD) report on the New Thriving Chinese Restaurant because the samples which were analysed were not taken from the restaurant, the town council's spokesman says.

"This posed a serious difficulty with the question of a control sample and the verification process," said Royston King, adding, "as a consequence, our inspectorate could not act on the analysis provided by that department."

In a statement, King responded to an article which appeared in last Tuesday's edition of the Stabroek News, which restated that no reason was ever given by the city's Meat and Food Inspector-ate for its failure to act on the report. Prior to the appearance of that article, Stabroek News had been unsuccessful in its attempts to contact Chief Meat and Food Inspector, Andrew Garnett.

Food and Drug had conducted tests on food that was eaten by a child who suffered food poisoning. The food was bought at the restaurant, according to the father of the boy.

Food and Drug officers subsequently inspected the restaurant, from where they seized a quantity of expired food.

After the find the department also advised the restaurant to stop selling food to the public.

But King said Food and Drug took independent action against the restaurant, while the city got a report and followed up. He said the city's inspectors found several violations which were corrected and there was no need to issue a closing order, which is the responsibility of the council.

King, who maintained that the city was doing its best to protect consumers, also said that the relationship between Food and Drug and its city council counterpart was informed by knowledge of the distinct functions and responsibilities of the two agencies.

But in the Stabroek News report the director of Food and Drug, Marilyn Collins, pointed out that with regard to legislation, there was no clearly defined relationship between the two agencies.

She had also noted that the city inspectors usually only looked for hygiene violations, like the kind they found at New Thriving, rather than food safety breaches.

Other sources also questioned the effectiveness of the city's monitoring of the conditions in restaurants.

King said the city had been vigilant over the years and prevented many unpleasant situations from occurring in the capital.