SHAH ALAM: The Government can initiate action against those found responsible for food poisoning cases.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said whenever cases of food poisoning occur; thorough investigations are carried out to determine the source.
"And if we find that the food poisoning happened due to lack of adherence to proper food preparation, handling and serving, we can take action," Dr Subramaniam told a press conference at an event organised by the Tamil Bell
Club here Thursday.
He was commenting on the incident where about 151 auxiliary police trainees at the Police Training Centre at Ayer Hitam, Jempol, came down with suspected food poisoning on Wed.
Dr Subramaniam said those preparing food must ensure that they are careful to prevent such incidents from happening.
Three people died and 60 others were hospitalised due to food poisoning after eating a chicken dish at a wedding feast in Tanjung Dawai near Sungai Petani late last month.
Dr Subramaniam said food poisoning happened due to various factors.
"It can be due to storage before the food was cooked or the method of cooking and time of consumption.
"Sometimes if the people preparing the food have sores in their hands, it could also lead to food poisoning," said Dr Subramaniam.
He added sometimes food is even consumed 10 hours after it had been prepared.
On another matter Dr Subramaniam said there was already a buffer system in place to monitor traditional medicine that came into the country.
He said those wanting to bring in traditional medicines must provide the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau data on the content.
"The drugs can only be brought in after this is done and they are registered here.
"Problems arise when the drugs are brought in without registration," said Dr Subramaniam.
He was responding to a question about traditional medicines, which were found to contain prohibited chemicals only after they have been brought into the country and retailed.
The Health Ministry cautioned consumers on Wed against the use of six types of unregistered traditional medicines from China and Hong Kong, which were found to contain high levels arsenic, mercury and lead.
Dr Subramaniam warned that his ministry would take action against distributors of traditional medicines caught flouting laws and regulations.