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Issue of powers, is public health in danger?

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Issue of powers, is public health in danger?

The consumption of food in street stalls, apart from being an emergency solution to lack of time or monetary scarcity, should occupy the agenda of local governments.

The current administrations of the Metropolitan Area have demonstrated on several occasions their concern about the uncleanliness that is perceived both in the poor management of solid waste, and in some accommodations from which they removed mattresses that were a source of infection.

What is essential is invisible to the eye and perhaps for this reason, greater attention is not paid to a situation that grows day by day and which could be said to already be part of the landscape. The sale of groceries on the street, specifically in the El Lago park sector, without this meaning that the rest of the city is better.

The purpose of this note is not to attack the informal seller, but rather to comply with the standards of cleanliness and health in post-pandemic times, dengue and different types of bacteria that cause gastroenteritis and congest health services or leptospirosis, which is very difficult and expensive to cure.

Note that the work area is small and some of the dough hangs too close to the handler’s clothing.

Taking in the panorama

Not very encouraging is the reality that occurs after 6:00 in the afternoon, in the space that includes Calle 24 between Carreras 7 and 8, you can easily count up to 13 food vendors, whose variety ranges from the traditional ‘chorilago’ ‘, dog, hamburger and pizza, to the most recent: minced meat and broths.


At first glance you can see that they need a basic food handling course, because some are without face masks, aprons and hats. They also wear watches, chains or earrings and not to mention those who, between clients, pick up the cell phone, put the speaker in the work area or do the work of a cook – cashier with the poor hygiene that can be achieved by slightly getting their hands wet and dry with a multipurpose cloth.

All this without mentioning that this same space has had complaints for poor management of solid waste, the same waste that attracts pests and passes between them and the food stalls.

What do they say at the Ministry of Health?

Jennifer Andrea Jara, leader of Environmental Health, regarding the work that is done with these vendors and the regulations required of them, reported that “At this time, health inspections are carried out on establishments that sell or handle any type of food, to them The inspection is carried out for different reasons: because they request the visit, because there is a citizen complaint or because there are operations scheduled from here or another agency.”

And the mask? And the apron? And the water to disinfect the lettuce?

The leader said that when they go to restaurants, bakeries and cafes, Resolution 2674 of 2013 is verified, which contains everything related to this activity. Then it became clear to her that the concern was more about those on public roads.

“First of all, we must make it clear that the Ministry of Health only has jurisdiction over street sales that are authorized by Public Space, which are very few in the Municipality, we make an inspection report, visit them, and verify that they have training. in handling, a medical examination in which it is said that they are fit to handle them, that they have enough water for cleaning and disinfection,” Jara explained.

But there are street vendors that are not authorized, so what they can do from Environmental Health are specific issues of sanitary conditions, but they do not issue a concept, since whoever is authorized is Public Space. “With Espacio Público we interact in what is called the Operations Committee, because since they are unauthorized sales, it is impossible for us to act directly as the Ministry of Health,” Jara said.

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In Public Space

When conveying these same concerns to Mateo Zuluaga, director of Public Space of the Government Secretariat, he commented: “Operations, monitoring and tours will begin to be carried out on the issue of informal food stalls, because they represent risks to public health and therefore invasion of space, because the sellers have doubled.”

Do you usually eat at street stalls?

Sara Montoya – passerby

“Yes, of course, every time you go out there is the opportunity, not that I always do it, but I have consumed from street stalls on the sides of the Plaza de Bolívar and I have not gotten sick.”

Wilson Ortiz – passerby

“Not food as such, suddenly a coffee or something like that, but not the other, due to lack of trust in the product and the people who sell it.”

Viviana Salgado – passerby

“No. I am a health worker and I have never consumed them, because I know that they are not preserved in an ideal way and the asepsis is rather poor.”

Carolina Ruiz – passerby

“Not now, because seeing certain things in terms of health, it’s more like taking distance, because they don’t have hygiene protocols, they don’t have water to wash implements. I worked in a place where they kept these cars, the rodents chased the leftovers and in the morning the owners only handed them a napkin on the grill.”

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