AN ice cream eatery, one of the world’s largest franchises, and two well-known cafes in Bandar Baru Klang which offer premium cakes and pastries, were among 14 eateries that the Selangor Health Department shut down for two weeks after rat droppings were found in their premises.
Eight roadside stalls in Jalan Pandamaran, Port Klang, were also ordered to close as there were “rodent issues”, said health inspectors.
According to a source in the state government, the rat droppings found in the ice cream eatery and the two cafes in Bandar Baru Klang that enjoyed high customer turnout, showed an alarming disregard for hygiene standards and public health.
StarMetro was told that rat droppings were found in the food preparation and storage areas.
Owners of the eateries were warned to clean up the premises with immediate effect as fear of rat urine leading to Leptospirosis could pose a serious risk to the public’s health.
Leptospirosis can be deadly and was classified as a notifiable disease on Dec 9, 2010, under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
Another threat to people from rats is flea-borne typhus (murine typhus). It is a disease transmitted to humans through infected fleas living on rats, resulting in high fever and rash.
Under the annual Clean Outlets and Hygiene Watch 2016, the Selangor Health Department, Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) Health Department with additional manpower from seven other local councils carried out the 10-hour joint operation that began at 9am last Friday.
Almost 150 government staff checked 67 stalls and 52 restaurants in Bandar Baru Klang, Taman Intan and Pandamaran in Port Klang.
Council president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin was disgusted by the lackadaisical attitude of the restaurateurs of the well-known cafes, ice cream eatery and even restaurants that were given health talks last month.
“MPK’s Health Department and the state Health Department issued 62 compound notices. Most of the health code violations included food handlers who have not had their anti-typhoid vaccination, infestation of cockroaches, absence of grease traps as well as food kept on the floor and kitchens with broken tiles,” he said.
Mohamad Yasid added that one mamak restaurant in Bandar Baru Klang was ordered to shut down as food safety inspectors found a rat in a wok within the food preparation area.
“We are cracking down on all eateries, as we do not want an outbreak of water-borne diseases or food poisoning cropping up. Health inspectors will allow the eateries to open once the council is satisfied with the clean-up. More inspections will follow this week,” he said.
Restaurateurs were upset with the hygiene inspections as it affected their businesses but MPK’s Health and Environment Department director Azmi Muji said the council made no apologies for the rigorous inspections as warnings were issued a month ago.
He added that his department would conduct a robust audit process for restaurants in Bandar Baru Klang, Jalan Pandamaran in Port Klang, Lorong Tingkat and Jalan Tengku Kelana.
“We want people to be confident eating out and we are getting the restaurants to improve the state of cleanliness,” he said.
Meanwhile, a pub and a restaurant in Bandar Baru Klang was warned for putting up falsified hygiene certificates that exhibited higher cleanliness scores, purportedly awarded under the MPK’s Health and Environment Department.
Another restaurant had a falsified certificate that claimed pest control measures had been carried out and to give an impression that it was true, it had MPK’s logo and a serial number printed on it.
Azmi said the three eateries had been warned. “Our regular checks at eateries have led our health inspectors to come across businesses that have duplicated the council’s hygiene certificates which exhibited higher scores.
“On closer observation, we found the same serial numbers on these certificates at other eateries,” he said.
He added that businesses do not have to put up their hygiene rating certificates on the wall.
“Restaurant owners put up hygiene rating certificates to show to customers that their eateries meet the requirements of the council’s cleanliness and hygiene regulations,” he added.