Paris 2024 Olympic Games: restaurants around Olympic facilities controlled, “healthy” operation for some restaurateurs

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: restaurants around Olympic facilities controlled, “healthy” operation for some restaurateurs

Les restaurants bordant le village olympique seront tous inspectés avant le début de la compétition. MAXPPP – PIERRE ROUANET

Une inspection a eu lieu dans les restaurants proches du village olympique ce vendredi en présence du ministre de l’Agriculture Marc Fesneau.

A gastrointestinal illness which affects a large number of athletes or visitors who have eaten at the same place? It is to avoid such a catastrophic scenario that France is increasing controls sanitary facilities around future Olympic sites.

A glance to check the clarity of the frying oils, the operation of the extractor hoods, the cleanliness of the stainless steel pans and bins, the provision of a sufficient quantity of bactericidal soap, or spot possible traces of the passage of rodents or cockroaches…

In the presence of the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau, an inspector toured a restaurant in Saint-Ouen, a commune of Seine-Saint-Denis bordering Paris, on Friday morning, which hosts part of the Olympic village and is close to the Stade de France (athletics, rugby), the aquatic center and the Arena Paris Nord (boxing, modern pentathlon).

No suspense over the outcome of the inspection in the gleaming brand: the managers of this branch of the "Braised Chicken" restaurant chain, open since the end of August, had been informed of the visit. The State thus wanted to remind that it intends "to control almost all of the nearby establishments" of the Olympic sites, according to the minister's office.

This concerns restaurants, caterers, bakeries, snack bars, mini-markets. In the commune of Saint-Ouen alone, this represents "a few hundred establishments", said Xavier Rosière, executive at the department of protection of the populations of Seine-Saint-Denis.

The day before, the prefecture announced in a tweet the closure of a bakery located a few steps from the restaurant visited by the minister. She mentions in particular, with supporting photos, the presence of rodents. The manager may reopen if he "implements appropriate corrective actions".

Since the start of the year, according to the ministry, "already 1 500 targeted controls OJ" were carried out in Ile-de-France. "We see the inspectors more often", remarks Sofiane Amrar, the director of the "Poulet Braisé" for whom "almost all of our restaurants" in Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-d’Oise "have been passed under sieve". "It’is beneficial", he believes, "to highlight" the good students and "remove" the dunces.

Also a question of "reputation"

A "collective food poisoning […] is judged […] as one of the highest levels of risk" around the organization of the Paris Olympics, "since it could endanger the organization of the competitions as such, if athletes fall ill" and that "endangers the reputation of France", underlines the cabinet of minister.

In total, 142 state agents (in full-time equivalent, FTE) are normally responsible for this type of controls in the departments which will host Olympic events. They have the reinforcement of 31 FTEs, "including 26 in Ile-de-France, where the vast majority of the events will take place", according to the ministry.

Among them, the inspector who conducted the inspection in front of Marc Fesneau, uncertain about his future after the Games. The workforce of the Anses health agency has also been increased, "to the tune of seven FTE", for "increase our laboratory analysis capabilities and therefore our responsiveness in the event of a health event", specifies the ministry.

A complete inspection before the Games

The State also plans to inspect, before the start of the Games, "all establishments" which will be used to eat within the Olympic sites.

"It would still be quite delicate if we had several hundred thousand people falling ill at the same time due to the meals that were served by the service providers" of the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11) and Paralympic Games (August 28-September 8), notes the consulting firm Marc Fesneau.

100 000 checks each year after the Games

It is estimated that 13 million meals or snacks will be served within the confines of Olympic-certified sites alone: ​​canteens for athletes and volunteers, catering stands for visitors…

Beyond the Olympics, "to protect French citizens", the government wants to increase 55  000 to 100,000 – therefore "almost double" with the help of private operators – the number of checks carried out each year in France in so-called “direct delivery” establishments; to consumers (restaurateurs, artisans, market sellers…). France has 600,000 establishments of this type.

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