Widespread apathy towards food hygiene shocking

kedaikotorBy CY Ming

It is amazing that a famous nasi kandar stall operating in an alleyway in between buildings along Jalan Penang on Penang Island was allowed to reopen after a three-day closure, despite being ordered closed for two weeks initially.

According to Penang state health department director Dr Sukumar Mahesan, another inspection was conducted and the restaurant’s cleanliness and hygiene standards had met with their criteria.

The Penang state health department must be very compassionate as the behaviour of the protesting stall owner was not taken into account.

The operator complained it was unfair for action to be taken against him as he had earlier lodged a report at the Pulau Pinang City Council (MBPP) over rats scurrying in nearby drains.

He also cried sabotage as there had been a lot of bad blood between the four cousins allowed to operate the stall on an annual rotation basis.

But if all it took was only three days to clean up the mess, why was it not done earlier when the current operator took over the premise from March 1?

Since the stall has been allowed to reopen, the Penang health department and MBPP should keep a close eye, as rats in the vicinity could easily make a comeback.

If dead rats or droppings are again found on the premise, the Penang health department ought to show more compassion towards the rakyat by closing it down permanently.

Surely, such a roaring food business should only operate in proper and hygienic shoplots. If not, it would put Penang food in a bad light among foreign visitors.

There is nothing to be proud of if food stalls are rat-infested and dirty, however delicious the food may be to the locals.

The nasi kandar stall operator did not do a proper clean-up before starting business on March 1, and would not have bothered for the next 12 months, had it not been for the timely inspection.

How many other food stalls and restaurants are there in the country that are just as unhygienic?

CY Ming is an FMT reader.

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