THE Health Ministry should conduct regular checks on eateries nationwide in view of the latest food poisoning case involving a minister and three state executive councillors in Malacca.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the ministry should strictly enforce the compoundable offences under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009.
He added that the 14-day closure for non-compliance of various hygiene criteria was no longer enough to act as deterrent for unscrupulous operators.
“The penalty should be doubled. We are talking about human life here. The Government should strengthen its regulations and supervision on food products,” he said.
He was speaking at a press conference at the CAP office.
On March 24, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, three state exco members and 30 senior tourism officials from Asean countries attending a meeting suffered severe food poisoning after a seafood meal at a fishing village in Umbai, Malacca.
Mohamed Idris said the Government should pay close attention to school and hostel canteen operators as the number of food poisoning cases in those places accounted for 43% (5,265) of the 12,122 food poisoning cases reported last year.
He said food poisoning cases at school and hostel canteens nationwide had been on the rise, from 3,822 cases (2010) to 3,959 (2011), 4,305 (2012) and 5,017 (2013).