Staff reporter
THE Balearic ministry for Health and Consumer affairs is to be keeping a watchful eye on the preparation and conservation of food served to tourists staying at establishments belonging to the Majorcan Hotel Federation.

The ministry intends to make sure that standards of hygiene in hotel kitchens are as high as possible through the introduction of practices that will be even more tightly controlled than they are at the moment.

Following the signing of a collaboration agreement with Pere Cañellas, President of the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation, minister Aina Castillo signalled that her department is aiming to guarantee the highest possible food safety standards for visitors. “If we are capable of offering visitors the highest possible level of quality in food preparation and conservation, people will always feel comfortable about coming back to the Islands in the future”.

Castillo gave assurances that the ministry receives very few complaints from tourists in relation to the standard of food preparation and presentation.
Up until this point in time, it was the hotels themselves which adopted their own measures to ensure food safety. Government inspectors however, made regular visits to the hotel kitchens, often unannounced, to take samples for analysis from food preparation areas and to see how food was stored and at what temperatures.

After the signing of this agreement, however, the Ministry of Health will apply its upgraded standards across the board, to ensure full client protection.

The Federation president, Cañellas declared his satisfaction with the agreement and added that the Balearics, specifically Majorca, has distinguished itself by being a holiday destination where standards of food preparation and presentation to tourists have always been high.

The agreement signed today establishes a wide framework of collaboration between the Ministry and the Federation in any areas related to health including exchange of documentation and information which could prove useful for both parties.

The Federation is committed to producing a practical guide on correct food preparation and conservation hygiene for its employees, with an initial print run of 1'000 examples to be shared out amongst its members. The ministry will also collaborate on training plans for staff at the Federation's establishments, in order to guarantee up-to-the-minute guidelines for food handlers. It is already a legal requirement that any employees beginning work in the catering industry should attend an obligatory “food handling course” before taking up their posts.

The agreement will last for a period of 3 years, which can be extended. It recommends the setting up of a watchdog Commission made up of representatives from the two parties. It will analyse training methods, their introduction to catering staff, and consider the difficulties which may arise in implementing the new legislation.


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