Monday, July 7, 2014

2038) NEW STRAITS TIMES 7/7/2014 - ‘Train traders on food hygiene’




‘Train traders on food hygiene’

KUALA LUMPUR: SEVERAL consumer associations have called on local authorities to introduce a mandatory course on food handling for Ramadan bazaar traders, following the outbreak of food poisoning cases.
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) deputy president Muhammad Shaani Abdullah said traders should be trained in food handling, and local enforcement officials should ensure workers practised good hygiene as well.
He said consumers should only patronise food stall operators who practise good hygiene.
“If consumers are not bothered by the way food is handled, especially if traders use their bare hands or dirty utensils, then these traders will not change their attitude.”
He said food purchased from the stalls should be properly stored and not be kept for long, as some food could be made out of leftovers, such as Roti John.
“In several cases, it is not the owners who run the stall, but local or immigrant workers, who have no knowledge of food hygiene.”
Shaani said consumers should report to the ministry and share their complaints on social media platforms to prompt authorities to step up enforcement measures.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said most Ramadan bazaar traders were unaware of proper food handling as they were likely involved in such businesses once a year in order to get additional income for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
“Most of them are not exactly business savvy, nor do they have knowledge of food production.
“Some of the stalls are just like in the 1960s, where they use old plastics and worn-out containers.
“They have to move away from old and unhealthy practices. The authorities should come up with a comprehensive module for food businesses operating temporarily.”
On Sunday, 36 people fell ill after eating Roti John (meat sandwiches) from a Ramadan bazaar stall in Taman Seri Muda, Shah Alam. Tests revealed the presence of Salmonella bacteria.

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