Food safety affects the health, wealth and reputation of countries. Diarrheal illness resulting from contaminated food or water (FBD) is the most common health problem faced by visitors to the Caribbean. In the last 15 years, the Caribbean has experienced an increase in the number of large and costly visitor-based outbreaks of illness, with negative impacts on the tourism industry. From 2010-2016, over 250 outbreaks of gastroenteritis (GE) from 23 countries were reported to the CARPHA, 15% occurring in hotels/resorts, and accounting for over 25,000 cases. One outbreak in 2012 resulted in over 800 ill persons, hotel closure and a 20% decline in arrivals. Investigations of FBD outbreaks have repeatedly demonstrated that they were costly, yet preventable. The root causes of these illnesses were traced to inconsistent attention to existing food and environmental safety standards, inadequately trained staff and a lack of an effective monitoring and reporting system. Reducing the incidence of FBD is, therefore, a continuing challenge to the Caribbean hospitality industry. The most effective tools for preventing foodborne and other illnesses are science-based food safety management, education and training.
The THP provides an advanced food safety and certification train the trainer course for health and hospitality stakeholders This training is done by certified regional experts, using the globally recognized SERVSAFE food safety material uniquely infused with the Caribbean experience based on CARPHA’s illnesses investigations of public health threats. SERV Safe is the internationally recommended comprehensive capacity-building proficiency course, using practical science-based knowledge and skills. It builds countries capacities in the areas of advanced food safety, illness causation and prevention, outbreak response and environmental sanitation (Figure 4). It will also allow for globally recognized certification. through the internationally recognized USA National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (SERV Safe)
Figure 4. Topics covered in Advanced Food Safety and Environmental Sanitation Training