JERANTUT, May 23 — Sugarcane juice lovers in the country do not have to worry about buying the drink at Ramadan bazaars because there is no evidence to date that it is contaminated with leptospirosis bacteria or rat urine.
Pahang State Health Department director Shaari Ngadiman said based on the monitoring conducted by the department, sugarcane traders were now more careful and maintained cleanliness by washing the sugarcane before extracting the juice.
“We see sugar cane entrepreneurs now washing and removing the skin before processing... that’s the best way to extract the sugarcane juice, but at the same time buyers also need to be alert by picking a hygienic hawker.
“In addition, we collect a variety of food samples including sugarcane juice and until today there is no evidence of such cases,” he told reporters after launching the 2018 State Level Food Safety Campaign at the Ramadan Bazaars here yesterday.
In this regard, he denied the possibility of a reduced number of sugarcane juice traders at the Ramadan bazaars in the state due to the buyers’ concern about the disease, but rather due to the shortage of sugarcane supply.
Meanwhile, Shaari said Jerantut was chosen as the state level launch site for the campaign as it was the cleanest Ramadan bazaar compared to other locations in the state.
He said, overall, he was satisfied with the cleanliness of about 13,000 food premises inspected in the state every year.
“If at all there are those who flout the rules, they are not many, only 120 food premises were closed last year, and this reflects that we are better than 20 years ago, we further educate the traders to maintain the quality of existing premises,” he said.
He hoped one day food premises in Pahang would become tourist attractions for safe and healthy food.
Shaari said that, during Ramadan this year, 140 food (safety) enforcement personnel statewide would move in each district to monitor food premises to ensure food safety.
The number would be doubled with the help of enforcement officers from other units, he added. — Bernama