|By Laila Azzeh, Jordan Times,
AmmanMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 24, 2011--AMMAN -- With the advent of summer, when the Kingdom witnesses an influx of expatriates and visitors, authorities are ensuring that safe food handling practices are in place.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA), the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), the Jordan Restaurants Association, the Jordan Hotels Association and the USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding to improve inspection standards at the Kingdom's hotels and restaurants.
"Empowering food providers and workers in the hospitality sector to self-inspect and apply safe food handling procedures are the ultimate objective of this initiative, JFDA Director Mohammad Khraisha told The Jordan Times yesterday during the signing ceremony.
He added that the agreement, the first of its kind in the region, will also address the shortage of health inspectors by providing workers in restaurants and hotels with training courses in safe food handling, noting that over 800 tourist restaurants and more than 450 hotels will benefit from the memo.
USAID will design and print an inspection manual as well as the safe food handling training material and build the capacity of JFDA and ASEZA health inspectors and hospitality workers.
"The initiative came directly after the Ministry of Tourism presented its tourism plan for 2011... it represents a very significant cooperation between the public and private sectors," the JFDA director said.
The inspectors will also be trained on food inspection measures that are based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System, in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product, according to the US Food and Drug Administration website.
In addition, the memo entails acquainting hotel and restaurant staff who handle or deal with food, including chefs and waiters, with the different types of food poisoning, germs transmitted by food and ways to avoid contamination, according to USAID.
"Tourism and hospitality have a huge potential in Jordan... more Jordanians will be encouraged to work in the hospitality field in the near future," said Amy Tohill-Stull, acting mission director of USAID/Jordan.
She noted that the growing number of restaurants in the country makes the development of food handling procedures very significant.
Under the memo, to be implemented within an 18-month period, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities will be responsible for incorporating food safety handling practices into regulations of hotels and restaurants and facilitating a national safe food handling awareness campaign, while the JFDA will adopt national policy guidelines on food safety.
USAID will also be responsible for conducting 10 safe food handling training courses in Amman, Aqaba and Petra.
To see more of the Jordan Times or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.jordantimes.com.
Copyright (c) 2011, Jordan Times, Amman
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com.