Laws needed to stop food wastage, say groups

Consumer groups urged the government to introduce laws to curb food wastage and discourage record-setting attempts that involve food. — Picture courtesy of Facebook/Sim Kui Hian
Consumer groups urged the government to introduce laws to curb food wastage and discourage record-setting attempts that involve food. — Picture courtesy of Facebook/Sim Kui Hian

PETALING JAYA, Oct 30 — Consumer groups and a soup kitchen are appalled by an event in Kuching where a giant bowl of Sarawak Laksa was cooked only to be thrown away after setting a Malaysian record.

They are calling on the government to introduce laws to curb food wastage and urged the authorities to discourage record-setting attempts that involve food.

Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Nadzim Johan said the authorities must take strict action against people who deliberately wasted food.

“This is not a joke anymore. The government must implement laws in each state and strictly enforce it to ensure an incident like this does not repeat,” he said.

Shocked by the organiser’s decision, he said the habit of using food to set records and create a name for themselves should stop.

“The local authorities must stop record-breaking events that involve food. These type of events are extremely unnecessary and childish,” he said, adding food wastage was equivalent to damaging the environment.

He said organisers must be held responsible to be a lesson to others.

“This incident should not be taken lightly. It does not matter if they had wasted one or 1,000 bowls, it is still food wastage.”

Some 1,500 servings of Sarawak Laksa were thrown away after the event on Friday, prompting a public backlash.

Nearly 600kg of food, including prawns and chicken, went into the “Biggest Bowl of Sarawak Laksa”, organised by a mall, Plaza Merdeka.

Consumers’ Association of Subang and Shah Alam president Jacob George said yesterday the implementation of by-laws at state level would be the fastest and most effective method to curb food wastage.

“Food wastage laws are necessary to avoid irresponsible behaviour. Authorities should start imposing penalties on those who waste food,” he said.

“Local councils should also make it compulsory for organisers to inform them prior to holding events in the state so that they can give approval if the event follows the set guidelines,” he said.

Jacob said it was absurd how Malaysians are more interested in breaking records and wasting food rather than giving back to the community.

“The organisers should have thought about the process of this competition before even going on with it,” adding the habit wasting food has become a cultural norm within the society.

He said there had been many suggestions by the government on laws concerning food wastage, but it was not followed through.

Kechara Soup Kitchen project director Justin Cheah said it was heart-wrenching to see food which could have fed the hungry being wasted in a large amount.

“They could have easily given the food to the orang asli or the needy, but they chose to waste it instead,” he said.

“Organisers should have thought of ways to make it healthy for consumption since they planned to cook a huge amount.”

He also agreed laws should be introduced to stop food wastage.

“Authorities must prioritise food wastage laws to ensure we don’t waste resources,” he said, adding laws would force Malaysians to change their attitude.

On social media, netizens slammed the organisers.

Twitter user Eric Paulsen said: “People going hungry yet Sarawak Laksa record saw fit to waste 225kg rice noodles, 90kg prawns, 1,008 eggs, 90kg bean sprouts, 80kg chicken.”

Najihah NA tweeted: “It is ridiculous as to how they made a huge meal, but threw the food in the end. How is this even possible?”

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