ILLNESSES resulting from the consumption of stale or damaged items sold by food producers is a major concern for the Lautoka City Council.
Earlier this week, the council embarked on an awareness campaign for food retailers in the city to ensure they maintain proper hygiene and services to their customers.
"At the end of the day, the health safety of the consumer is paramount," LCC chief executive Jone Nakauvadara said.
Mr Nakauvadra said there were increasing complaints against food producers and the unhygienic state of some of the restaurants.
"There's a lot of talk about food-borne diseases because of the quality of food and we want to improve that.
"We want to reduce the diseases and the impact of food-borne diseases because the impact doesn't only affect the people (involved) but it also affects the productivity of organisations," he said.
"The sad thing about food-borne diseases is that they happen a few days later, people start feeling sick, vomiting or get stomach pains and people don't realise that their sicknesses are caused by food-borne diseases and this is why we are coming up with the workshop," said Mr Nakauvadra.
About 60 food manufacturers, distributors and sellers were at the council's food and health safety awareness program.
"We need to inform people and create awareness on raising the standards of how they handle food."
Mr Nakauvadra said the LCC's efforts to increase their campaign on health safety awareness was also part of their endeavour to increase Lautoka's popularity.
"Last year Lautoka was declared the cleanest city in Fiji and now all these sports tournaments and major events are being held in Lautoka because of the cleanliness of the place and the facilities we have.
"A lot of people are focusing on Lautoka now and I told them that it is imperative on their part to uplift the services they deliver to the customers because a lot of people are asking about the restaurants in Lautoka," said Mr Nakauvadra.