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Preventing Health and Food Safety Hazards in the Hospitality Sector
Accounting for an average of 5% of worldwide GDP, tourism has become one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world. For many developing countries it is one of the main sources of foreign exchange income.
Tourism industry under increased pressure
Tourism, rather tourists, as defined by the United Nations World Tourism Orgainzation (UNWTO), are people who “travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for more than twenty four hours and not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.” As this industry grows, there is increasing pressure from tourists for:
• Safe travel
• Health and food safety
• Environmental stewardship and sustainability commitments, amongst others
Some of this pressure is passed on to intermediates, like tour operators, who want to minimize the “risks”. As new regulations come into force, the entire chain needs to be addressed and solutions proposed to the major stakeholders, of which hotels and more precisely resorts play a key role.
Food safety and hygiene monitoring
Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Escherichia Coli O157:H7, Norovirus and Hepatitis A are just some of the bacteria and viruses responsible for food poisoning outbreaks. Sometimes these bacteria and viruses are spread to food from infected food handlers in hotel kitchens. To help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses food handlers should receive food safety training and strictly abide by proper handwashing and where necessary glove usage. Likewise swimming pools and spas can present a health hazard to hotel patrons. Infectious diseases can be acquired in swimming and spa pools causing gastrointestinal, skin, eye, ear and upper respiratory infections. When water quality and microbial hazards are not adequately monitored, bacteria such as Shigella, Escherichia Coli O157:H7 and Legionella can proliferate and infect hotel guests.
One of SGS main services offering to the hospitality and tourism sector remains in terms of Food Safety and Hygiene Monitoring (http://www.sgs.com/
• Audit of premises and practices, including pictures;
• Sampling and laboratory testing in our ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited laboratory;
• Reporting with a scoring system and a follow-up mechanism from one audit to the other.
The above scheme can be adapted to suit one’s specific requirements with additional features or customization.
Currently, SGS is putting together a complete service offering to the hotel sector by integrating a wide array of services and expertise across its different business activities taking into consideration specificities of different countries while developing new services, including schemes / standards in line with the specific needs of the hospitality and tourism industry (http://www.sgs.com/
Should you require more information on SGS services for the tourism industry, please contact the SGS Food Safety experts.
SGS Consumer Testing Services
Regional Business Development Manager
Tourism & Hospitality
SGS (Mauritius) Ltd
t: +230 696 8808
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.