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Friday April 25, 2008

New canteen operator for school

A NEW canteen operator has been appointed for Sekolah Agama Menengah Bestari in USJ 5 on a temporary basis following last week’s case of food poisoning involving 123 students at the school.

The students are also back in school. It was shut down on April 18 to enable the Education Ministry to conduct an investigation into the case.

Orderly: The female students having dinner cooked by the new operator at the canteen.

Parents were said to have taken the students home on April 17 after they found out about the food poisoning.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, visited the school on Wednesday evening to check on the new operator and also see how the students were faring.

She said the students had told her that the previous operator had not been following the meal menu that had been set many times.

“While I applaud this quick move in appointing a new operator, I sincerely hope that such a case of food poisoning won’t happen again,” said Yeoh.

The new operator is Tirai Selera, a contractor who supplies halal food.

Its general manager Shahidol Kofli Salim said the company has been in the food business for 20 years and that he is operating another canteen at a technical school in Cheras.

“However, we have been told that we are appointed only for a week here,” he said.

The school authorities said it did not have a say in the appointment of their canteen operator and that this was done by the Education Ministry.

The school confirmed that none of the affected students were hospitalised and that all 123 of them received outpatient treatment.

It is learnt that the students found worms in their bowls and utensils while having their breakfast.

The school said that this was the second case of food poisoning. The first was in 2004 but a different operator was managing the canteen then.

Yeoh said she hoped operators with a bad track record won’t be reappointed again as food poisoning cases should not be taken lightly.

The school is an elite Islamic school where top students from different districts in Selangor are picked to study and stay at its hostel.

It has 415 girls and 338 boys, from Form One to Five. They take five meals a day – breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, and supper.

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