KUALA LUMPUR: The increasing cases of leptospirosis (rat urine disease) and diarrhoea show that there is negligence on food hygiene and the environment, says MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Both the Government and the public should play their part in maintaining the hygiene of the places where food is sold, he said, adding that food sellers and restaurant operators had the “absolute responsibility” to ensure cleanliness at their premises.
“Improper handling of food and waste as well as dirty kitchens attract pests, cause food contamination and infectious diseases,” he said in a statement here yesterday.
Last month, a 21-year-old Universiti Teknologi Mara student died following a meal at a stall. Megat Hafiqh Hakimi Zulffrida succumbed to leptospirosis after suffering multiple organ failure.
The Health Ministry had acknowledged that the number of deaths caused by leptospirosis in the country had spiked in the past six years.
Dr Chua, a former health minister, called on local government enforcement officers to conduct frequent spot checks at restaurants and to take stern action against those who violated health rules and regulations.
He also urged the ministry to conduct random food sampling tests.
“Both the ministry and local governments can collaborate to carry out checks and enforcement to ensure eateries and restaurants do not become the breeding ground for pests and diseases,” he added.
Dr Chua said consumers could play their role by patronising only clean and hygienic eateries.