Characteristics of Noncompliant Food Handling Establishments and Factors That Inhibit Compliance in a Regional Health Authority, Jamaica

The Jamaican food safety regulatory framework is embodied in the Public Health Act of 1974 with public health inspectors/environmental health officers (PHIs/EHOs) empowered with its enforcement. The North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) has consistently faced challenges in achieving national certification targets for food-handling establishments (FHEs). The aim of the authors’ study was to identify and describe noncompliant FHEs and to identify factors influencing their noncompliance. FHEs (N = 248) were randomly selected and each owner/operator targeted for interview. Substantially more FHEs were compliant and respondents from compliant FHEs were more likely to have a valid food handlers’ permit. Urban FHEs were less likely to be compliant than rural. The major barriers to compliance were forgetting to apply for a license and lack of money to correct infractions. NERHA should encourage FHE owners/operators to assume greater responsibility for the certification of their premises and to hold PHIs more accountable.

Speaker / Author: 
Norbert Campbell, MPH
Jeffericia Johnson, MPH
Henroy Scarlett, MPH, DrPH
Sylvanus Thompson, MSc, PhD
Month Year: 
September 2015
Page #: 
Publication Month: 
September 2015
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