SPOTCHECKS by Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) health department have found that less than 20% of restaurants in Kuala Lumpur are abiding by the no-plastic bag ruling.
DBKL Health and Environment Department director Dr Noor Akma Shabudin said many still claimed ignorance of the new ruling for the compulsory use of biodegradable and compostable plastic bags and food containers in the Federal Territories, which has been enforced since September.
“Some restaurant owners are using biodegradable bags that have not been authorised by Sirim or the Federal Territories Ministry.
Three restaurants were ordered to close for failing to meet food safety guidelines during the DBKL joint operation.
“We have noticed that many eateries use oxo-degradable and photo-degradable plastic bags that do not comply with the ministry’s by-laws,” she said during a DBKL health operation.
Dr Noor Akma explained that oxo-degradable bags would break down into fine particles that could be inhaled by people, which made it hazardous, while photo-degradable plastic disintegrated in sunlight.
From September to December, DBKL issued 49 compound notices for not using biodegradable plastic packaging, while 21 notices were issued in the first two months of this year.
Led by DBKL advisory board member Datuk S. Rajah, the teams checked 53 restaurants in Medan Tuanku, Jinjang Selatan, Jalan Kuchai Lama, Taman Maluri and Seri Hartamas,
During the latest joint operation, 28 compound notices were issued for various offences including workers failing to wear proper attire such as caps, hairnets and aprons; preparing food in the back lanes; unsatisfactory hygiene on the premises; disposing food waste and liquid into the drain; and not installing grease traps.
Rajah (right) checking the biodegradable bags used in a convenience store. —Photos: LOW LAY PHON / The Star
Three restaurants were ordered to close when cockroaches and rat droppings were spotted in the premises.
Rajah advised business owners to adhere to DBKL’s health and hygiene guidelines.
“Profit should not be the only consideration for business owners. They should think about their customers.
“These operations are not aimed at finding fault but to raise awareness on the ‘dos-and-don’ts’ in food safety,” he added.
Last year, 2,023 compound notices were issued for health offences while 792 food establishments were ordered to close following similar operations.