Food a focus for Fraser Health during Surrey’s Vaisakhi Parade

Fraser Health urges those serving food at the event - and those indulging - to take precautions.

People line up for food at a booth on 128th Street during the Surrey Vaisakhi parade in 2014.

People line up for food at a booth on 128th Street during the Surrey Vaisakhi parade in 2014.

SURREY — Food is high on the list of things to partake in at Surrey’s annual Vaisakhi Parade, set for this Saturday (April 23).

It’s a hectic time for Fraser Health, which approves permits to the many food vendors.

Inderjeet Gill, Fraser Health’s manager of health protection for Surrey, said there are typically 150 to 250 permits handed out during the event each year.

“We expect the same, if not close to that this year,” he said. “We’re trying to approve as many as we can.”

But their work isn’t done once those permits are approved.

“We’re always there because my staff is always inspecting the event. We just want to make sure everything goes OK,” Gill said. “But these are people doing things out of their good will, they’re not creating restaurants or anything like that.”

Even so, it’s important for everyone to practice food safety, he noted, providing “dos and don’ts” for those serving food, as well as those indulging.

SEE MORE: Vaisakhi food safety tips from Fraser Health

“Any large special event, it’s extremely important that people actually observe very good personal hygiene, i.e. hand washing. That’s key. That’s what we’re always trying to focus on,” said Gill.

Take precautions when you’re sneezing or coughing, he added.

Many people are coming back from India this time of year, and Gill said they may bring diseases back with them.

“If they’re carrying any illness, we ask them please don’t handle food. There’s lots of other ways to volunteer,” he remarked.

For people sampling the plethora of food, Gill said to observe those serving you.

“Number one, how their food handling is, whether people serving food are wearing gloves, are the foods being stored on the ground, which we’re telling people not to do… because insects can crawl in.”

Click here for more information on the parade, including road closures.