Reza Akbari makes traditional kebabs at the Persia and Iran pavilion during the last day of Heritage Festival at Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019.
Ian Kucerak Ian Kucerak / Postmedia
Alberta Health Services (AHS) would like to address concerns raised in a recent article about food inspections at Edmonton Heritage Festival.Like many Edmontonians, we love to get out and take in all that this festival does to promote community and multiculturalism. It’s also our job to make sure that every pavilion is operating safely so that the food people are serving won’t make anyone sick. Given there are 76 pavilions, you can imagine it’s a huge undertaking for our staff.AHS public health inspectors first met with organizers in March to start scheduling inspector shifts for the long weekend.Our staff rely on vendors submitting their temporary food vendor forms on time so that we can review food safety requirements and schedule inspections. If a vendor is late or makes changes to their pavilion set-up after the fact, it can affect the timing of our inspections.In May, our inspectors met with pavilion volunteers at their annual general meeting and vendors had a chance to sign up for their inspection time. We also offered two food-safety courses.We started scheduled inspections on Friday, Aug. 2, and we continued outstanding inspections the morning of Sat., Aug. 3, on a first-come, first-serve basis.If an issue is noted, the vendor is required to fix the problem before receiving final sign-off. In the meantime, inspectors will move on to the next pavilion so they can assist other vendors. In some cases, this might result in a slight delay while waiting for the next available inspector to return and sign off on any changes.We want everyone to enjoy all the summer events that Edmonton has to offer and our Environmental Public Health staff work long, hard hours behind the scenes to make sure they’re doing their part to keep everyone safe.Dr. Chris Sikora, Edmonton Zone Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health ServicesZero arrests at Heritage festivalRe. “Only 26 arrests as Big Valley hosts 20,000 ‘well-behaved’ fans,” Aug. 6I note that Big Valley Jamboree is celebrating they had only 26 arrests. Down from their all-time high of 46.On the same weekend Edmonton’s Heritage Festival celebrated 360,000 attending with zero arrests and 360,000 smiles.Jack Little, EdmontonCanada can’t do it aloneI’m all for cleaning up carbon emissions to clean the air we breathe; Who isn’t? The reality is Canada — which means the normal everyday citizen who will be paying the various taxes that our politicians come up with to clean our air — cannot do this on their own.It’s been proven that we contribute less than one per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. Until the serious emitters like the U.S., China, India and Russia realize, or start to care, then nothing is going to change in the world’s air quality.That is why the everyday citizen of Canada becomes so frustrated with various politicians, protocols or the next idea that is put forward that we will inevitably be taxed on. If you cannot get the big boys on board, then the little guys aren’t going to make a difference.Ed Matthews, Mulhurst Bay