While food is free from all possible
While the terms food hygiene and food safety are commonly used interchangeably, the World Health Organisation (WHO) defines food hygiene as practices that strictly prevent microbial contamination of food at all points between production and consumption while food safety is a broader concept concerned with ensuring that food is free from all possible contamination and hazards. Food safety control is a mandatory regulatory activity of enforcement by the relevant authorities to provide consumer protection and to ensure that all foods during transportation, handling, storage, processing and distribution are safe, wholesome and fit for human consumption and conform to all safety requirements and are honestly and accurately labelled (Department of Health, 2004). Components of a good food control system include food laws and regulations, food control management, inspection services, laboratory services for food monitoring and epidemiological data as well as information, education, communication and training (FAO/WHO, 2004 ).
Food hygiene and safety is the function of different agencies and levels of government. The agencies and levels of government often do not work in sync with each other. In South AFrica, food safety and hygiene and is regulated by National Department of Health, Provincial Health Departments and local authorities.
When a city hosts a major event, the very same agencies and different levels of government need to work together in a coordinated manner. This may prove to be difficult. Even more importantly, the time period required for preparation for major events may be limited. There may also not be many opportunities to practice coordinated food safety and control activities as major events are sporadic not consistently occurring.
For public health professionals, the focus during major events is on health and safety. However, organisers may have other motives such as promotion of commerce and trade (FAO/WHO, 2004) . This means that even though organisers are ultimately responsible for health and safety, they may overlook it in favour of trade. This may result in organisers allowing some unlicensed traders lacking the Certificate of acceptability (COA) to trade.
Tourists or visitors to a festival may choose not to limit themselves to the activities of the festival only. They may ‘choose’ to experience the ‘authentic culture’ of a city and thus move to other parts of the city where unlicensed food providers may be found.
Resource limitations may a stumbling block for effective food safety and hygiene management. This may result in inadequate inspection and laboratory services to cope with the demands of a special event within a big city event.
Hosting big events is often an infrequent activity. For example, hosting a soccer world cup event or olympic events may occur once in a century while hosting a similar event by the same city may take decades. The effect is that