Health department launches crackdown on dirty eateries

Inspectors from the Federal Territories health department conducting a surprise check at a hawker centre in Kampung Baru found food being prepared and stored in unhygienic conditions. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
Inspectors from the Federal Territories health department conducting a surprise check at a hawker centre in Kampung Baru found food being prepared and stored in unhygienic conditions. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — The Federal Territories health department has launched a crackdown on eateries, stalls and restaurants to curb the spread of typhoid in the city.

Department director Datuk Dr Narimah Nor Yahya said Ops Premis Makanan was launched as part of efforts to address the disease.

“To date, our task force has inspected 160 premises in Kuala Lumpur and 10 were shut down for failing inspection guidelines as outlined by the Food Act 1983 and Food Act 2009,” she said.

Speaking during a surprise inspection of a popular hawker centre in Kampung Baru, Dr Narimah appealed to the public to be mindful of where they eat.

“Please be aware of your surroundings and make an effort to select clean premises to eat.

“Do not hesitate to report any dirty premises. Preventing typhoid and ensuring that food safety standards are met is a community effort,” she said.

Workers at the hawker centre were seen scrambling to clear mounds of dirty dishes and hurriedly washing the floor of their kitchen areas.

Two stalls were served with closure notices for failing to meet inspection standards.

Blood samples and contact details of all foreign workers employed at the centre were also collected.

Dr Narimah said several samples tested positive for typhoid in other premises previously inspected but declined to provide further details.

She said it was unacceptable for ice cubes to be stored in dirty open containers and for workers to use their bare hands to handle ice.

“Look at the flies buzzing around the raw meat. This place is definitely getting closed,” she said of one eatery, adding that if any workers were not vaccinated for typhoid, charges would be brought against the employer.

“It is mandatory for restaurant or hawker centre operators to have all their workers vaccinated,” she said.

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