Pacific Partnership, Kiribati Inspect Food to Maintain a Healthy Community
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
TARAWA, Republic of Kiribati - Pacific Partnership 2013 medical professionals joined local Kiribati food inspectors to analyze Kiribati's food safety legislation and visit local restaurants during a food safety subject matter expert exchange, July 22.

Service members from New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. collaboratively conducted training with local restaurant owners and chefs throughout the week on subjects including how to care for locally grown food most commonly eaten on the island.

The training also taught how to prevent food-borne illnesses by using safe hand washing techniques and properly storing and preparing food.

Speaking of the impact the training has had, Royal Australian Air Force Flying Officer Jessica Dagger said she is already seeing improvements.

"I've learned heaps from the Kiribati food inspectors," said Dagger. "One of the best things is that we have formed one-on-one relationships, and learned how they carry out their business."

The Kiribati food inspectors said they too enjoyed sharing information with the Pacific Partnership team.

"From the first day, and up until today, we have learned a lot of things," said Tabomoa Tinte, assistant health inspector for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. "We learned how to face our clients, how to properly conduct food inspections for the restaurants and improve our personal hygiene."

After learning from one another, the team consolidated their skills and put them into practice at eateries around the island. The team's ultimate goal is to achieve better restaurant sanitation and healthier food consumption for the people of Kiribati.

"This partnership is very important for the Kiribati people, especially for their health," said Tinte. "I want to extend my appreciation to the Pacific Partnership team and thanks for the things that we learned from you guys. It is all very important to us."

Pacific Partnership is a collaborative effort of military members and civilians from 10 partner nations including Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States that improves maritime security through disaster preparedness.

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