Risk of Food Poisoning

30th September 2003

Risk of Food Poisoning

Initial Report

I have recently just come off one of AAA vessels which is at the moment doing R.O.V.(Remote Operating Vehicle) work.  I was one of the two Chefs on board catering for 30 people.  Recently at a Safety meeting I brought up a very important issue concerning heating and keeping warm the food at each meal time. The food is put out on top of a hot press in the mess room and soon goes cold quick as there is not enough room and some of it sits on top of the fridge.  I suggested that they should get proper heat lamps to keep the food at the right temperature so as not to cause food poisoning.   That is what will happen soon if something is not done and who will get the blame, us the cooks.   An A.B. later informed me that the view of the Safety officer on board was that the other ships are coping ok without the heat lamps, it’s all down to the cost, as is anything else you bring up. If it involves spending money no one wants to know.  These new ships are not built to cater for the people on board and before long someone will go down with salmonella.  If one of the clients on board or crew goes down ill with food poisoning they have a clear cut case for compensation.  It really needs looking in to as soon as possible.  I look forward to hearing from you over the result of your investigation.

Other cooks on the company vessels have said the same thing the Second Mate told me, but still nothing has been done.  I’ve been catering at sea for more than twenty years and I know what I am on about.  I also have a food thermometer and 20 minutes after the food is put out I test it and it is well below the required temperature.

CHIRP contacted the operator concerned.  Another vessel engaged in similar operations had highlighted the problem earlier in the year and additional equipment had been supplied.  CHIRP has been informed suitable equipment is now being sourced to remedy this problem.

From a management viewpoint there is a clear benefit in investigating whether lessons learned on one vessel may apply to others.

There is some new regulation which readers may need to be aware of; The Food Safety (Ships and Aircraft) (England and Scotland) Order 2003, which came into force on 18th August 2003.  The main effect of the Order is to extend the definition of “premises” in The Food Safety Act 1990, to certain ships and aircraft, in relation to enforcement of food hygiene and specified temperature control requirements.

The Order gives authorised officers the power of entry to ships and aircraft to carry out food hygiene inspections. Our understanding is that the Food Standards Agency is currently in talks with the MCA and others, reviewing a MoU with respect to the enforcement of these regulations.

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