Businesses can keep alcoholic drinks in same fridge, but separate racks, says group

This photo taken on July 20, 2010 shows a bar-tender filling a glass with beer for a customer in Kuala Lumpur's vibrant Bukit Bintang nightlife district. — AFP pic
This photo taken on July 20, 2010 shows a bar-tender filling a glass with beer for a customer in Kuala Lumpur's vibrant Bukit Bintang nightlife district. — AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Retailers and coffee shop owners can store alcoholic drinks in the same refrigerator as non-alcoholic ones, but they must be placed on separate racks starting December next year, a group said today.

Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors General Association president Ho Su Mong told The Star Online today that the Health Ministry made the clarification after he raised the matter with them.

“We wrote to the Health Ministry after the news went around that we will soon have to buy separate refrigerators to store alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

“We are thankful to the ministry for promptly clarifying the matter,” he was quoted as saying.

He said the recent directive had caused some confusion over the matter.

According to the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2016 gazetted in May, the ruling will come into force on December 1 next year.

The Health Ministry, in a letter to the association, reportedly stated that under the amendments to Regulation 361 (5) of the Food Regulations 1985, it would be compulsory for sellers to separate alcoholic drinks from other food, but they could be kept in the same refrigerator as long as they are displayed on different racks.

Ho previously said the ruling was not practical because of space constraints and could incur extra cost.

In the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2016, the Health Ministry also increased the minimum age for alcohol consumption to 21 from 18 and imposed labels on alcoholic beverages that say alcohol can be hazardous to health, effective on December 1 next year.

The regulations also impose punishments of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine not exceeding RM10,000 against those who fail to comply with the rules on the sale and labelling requirements for alcohol products. 

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