Health concerns raised about make-shift market in Iqaluit
Woman from Ottawa sold food out of cardboard boxes at Elder's Qammak
Posted: Sep 27, 2012 6:07 PM CT
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2012 7:43 PM CT
Some products being sold at the new Frobisher Market in Iqaluit are raising some health concerns.
Ottawa entrepreneur Kate Zhang started the market after hearing about the high cost of food in the territory.
The market has been in the city twice and has gotten a good turnout for its supply of vegetables and fruit. But the sale of frozen meat out of cardboard boxes has raised some eyebrows.
“She should get a freezer, don't waste them like that,” said Publoo Onalik, a customer who was at the market Wednesday.
At the first market in August, frozen bacon and chicken breasts were sold in bulk. Last week, it was frozen sausages, ground beef and chicken sold in the Elder's Qammak, and temperatures were warm in the building.Kate Zhang runs the Frobisher Market in Iqaluit. She said she doesn't see a problem with selling frozen meat in cardboard boxes. (CBC)
Zhang said the meat is out for only a couple of hours and doesn't think it's a huge issue.
“In the worst case, well, there is the porch we can use as well. So maybe if it gets too warm and then we can always put the meat outside and then it would be below 0 degrees anyway,” she said.
There have been two markets to date, but no food safety inspections.
That will soon change - Zhang is trying to get a business permit in Iqaluit and an inspection is part of the approval process.
“An environmental health officer from the Government has been in touch with that proprietor and is following up on the situation and we will do an inspection on her the next time she is open and available,” said Peter Workman, an environmental health consultant with the Government of Nunavut.
Workman said businesses like Zhang's need to provide information to the government as part of the permit process.
“About what you're going to be purchasing, what you're going to sell, how you're going to do it and where you're going to do it,” added Workman.
In the Northwest Territories, selling fish from the back of trucks is popular. But the territory's Chief Public Health Officer said even those businesses need to meet food safety standards – such as wearing gloves when serving clients.
“Obviously when you're handling meat, you always have to be precautionary anyway. There's always some possibility of contamination. But if people know how to handle it properly, you'll be minimizing that risk,” said Dr. Andre Corriveau.
Zhang isn't the only one selling unpackaged meat in Iqaluit - there's also a country food market every month.
In Nunavut, country food is covered under the Land Claims agreement. However, the government said it gets a bit complicated when the food is sold commercially or in restaurants.
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