EHPs have been checking Olympic food sites
The CIEH’s environmental health volunteers are performing an essential ‘behind the scenes’ public health role and have been helping to maintain food safety standards at most of the Olympic venues, according to Sharon Smith, CIEH co-ordinator for the environmental health volunteer programme.
While Team GB’s medal tally continues to surpass all expectations and delight the country, 125 EHPs are part of a unique programme which is working closely with the vast number of food catering units to ensure a safe Games.
Ms Smith said: ‘The response to this new approach and our volunteers has been positive. The challenge in the first few days was about working with such a massive catering operation, and making sure that each food unit had an early visit.’
The volunteers were provided with specially commissioned training involving face-to-face sessions, webinars and workbook components. A customised rating system, which drew on systems used at large-scale events elsewhere, was introduced. The team has drawn environmental health colleagues from local authority, commercial and independent sectors, and from as far a field as Canada and Australia.
Ms Smith added: ‘While the enthusiasm and pride of the environmental health volunteers has been inspiring and extraordinary, it is so important to remember that the profession has been delivering an important public health role.
‘EHPs from every corner of the world and all parts of Britain have been helping councils perform the full range of environmental health activities.
‘The international makeup of the programme has allowed us to strengthen our professional relationships with colleagues from around the world.
‘The profession’s contribution to the 2012 Games has been magnificent and will secure a lasting environmental health legacy.’
Graham Jukes CIEH chief executive said: ‘The work of our volunteers has been truly magnificent, underpinning the success of the Games from a public health protection perspective, but also in developing a lasting legacy in new approaches to regulatory compliance for the maintenance of public safety.
‘We have worked closely with the JLARS enforcement teams and the contractors to ensure that problems have been identified early on and solutions found. I am extremely proud of the work they have done and will continue to be done to the end of this week and in the build up to the Paralympic Games over the coming weeks. I award them all a gold medal for the dedication and sheer professionalism they have demonstrated to achieve public health protection.’