Check the clarity of frying oils, the operation of extractor hoods, the cleanliness of pans, spot traces of possible rodents… as the Olympic Games approach, health checks are intensifying around the sites which will welcome athletes and visitors.

Friday April 12, an inspector toured, in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, a restaurant in Saint-Ouen, a town in Seine-Saint-Denis which hosts part of the Olympic village. A visit announced to the restaurant in advance, but which allows the State to recall that it intends to “control almost all establishments near” the Olympic sites, according to the minister’s office. This concerns restaurants, caterers, bakeries, snack bars and convenience stores.

In the town of Saint-Ouen alone, this represents “a few hundred establishments”, Xavier Rosière, executive at the population protection department of Seine-Saint-Denis, said on Friday. 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 will be able to reopen if he “implements appropriate corrective actions”.

Some 1,500 targeted checks

Since the start of the year, according to the ministry, “already 1,500 targeted Olympic checks” have been carried out in Ile-de-France. A “collective food poisoning” constitutes, according to the minister’s office, “one of the highest levels of risk” surrounding the organization of the Paris Olympic Games, “since it can endanger the organization of the competitions as a as such, if athletes fall ill” and that this “endangers the reputation of France”.

The 142 state agents normally responsible for this type of control in the departments which will host Olympic events will be accompanied by 31 reinforcements, in full-time equivalent (FTE), “including 26 in Ile-de-France”, assures the ministry . The workforce of the Anses health agency has also been increased, “to the tune of seven FTEs”, to “increase our laboratory analysis capacities and therefore our responsiveness in the event of a health event”, specifies the ministry.

The State also plans to inspect, before the start of the Games, “all establishments” which will serve food within the Olympic sites. “It would still be quite delicate if we had several hundred thousand people falling ill at the same time,” notes Marc Fesneau’s office. It is estimated that thirteen million meals or snacks will be served within the Olympic-certified sites alone: ​​canteens for athletes and volunteers, food stands for visitors, etc.