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Still handling food in the back lanes


Workers washing dishes on the floor and back lane of a coffeeshop in SS2.

Workers washing dishes on the floor and back lane of a coffeeshop in SS2.

DESPITE Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) efforts to curb unhygienic food practices, several eateries in Petaling Jaya continue to flout council regulations, with workers ignoring basic hygiene practices.

During a check by StarMetro, we saw one worker pounding meat in the back lane between two eateries in SS2, while several others were washing dishes and utensils on the ground nearby. Garbage bins with rubbish spilling over could be seen in the background.

StarMetro also observed similar practices of workers washing dishes by the roadside or on the floor at several local coffeeshops in Section 14 and Taman Megah.

The roads and floors were littered with rubbish and food remnants. Some were stained with moss, which clearly indicated that the surface had been wet and mouldy for some time.

Over the past week, MBPJ shut down five dirty eateries during a crackdown in Section 5 and Ara Damansara.

These restaurants were also slapped with fines for having dirty premises, unhygienic practices and flouting council regulations.

Among the offences they were found guilty of were throwing grease and dirty water into the drains. Rat droppings and cockroaches were also found in some of their cupboards and refrigerators.

Shah Alam City Council (MBSA)and Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) told StarMetro they inspected restaurants in areas under their jurisdiction based on complaints and a grading system.

In Shah Alam, the city council introduced the Food Premises Cleanliness Audit System in 2015 that requires restaurant owners to apply and pay RM100 to have their restaurants inspected and graded.

No washing or food preparation is allowed in the back lanes of restaurants but eateries flout this rule.
No washing or food preparation is allowed in the back lanes of restaurants but eateries flout this rule.

Restaurants that are not graded are given compounds upon routine inspection if they are found to break rules, or when complaints are made.

With the system, restaurants with Grade A are inspected and re-graded every six months, while those graded B or C every three months.

The system also makes inspections more vigorous as spot checks are done more frequently.

MBSA Corporate Communications head Shahrin Ahmad said action would be taken against restaurant owners who failed to apply for re-examination of their premises.

He said eateries that did not adhere to guidelines would face termination of licence.

The guideline states that restaurants must be free from bugs, rodents and pets; workers must receive medical checks and anti-typhoid immunisation; back lanes or public spaces must not be used to prepare food; and food waste must not be disposed into drains.

In Subang Jaya, MPSJ conducts routine and scheduled inspections to ensure that the Food Handling By-Law and Food Establishment Licensing By-Laws 2007 are met.

MPSJ Corporate and Strategic Management deputy director Azfarizal Abdul Rashid said premises that were given Grade A would be inspected at least once a year.

He said those that scored below 65%, however, would be inspected more regularly.

Cleanliness of restaurants are thoroughly checked during inspections by the council from the condition of floors to ceiling, food handling and food storage.
Cleanliness of restaurants are thoroughly checked during inspections by the council from the condition of floors to ceiling, food handling and food storage.

Eateries are assessed based on food handling, overall cleanliness of the premises, sanitation facilities such as oil trap, sink and toilet, and maintenance of premises from its floor and ceiling condition to ventilation and lighting.

“The typhoid immunisation for food handlers is a mandatory condition to getting licensed.

“If a restaurant has no proof of typhoid shots for everyone of its workers, we will issue a warning and compound notice.

“Restaurants will be shut down if the premises is filthy and is graded below 65%,” he added.

From January to April this year, MPSJ has issued 281 compounds and 701 cleaning notices.

StarMetro would like to urge readers to alert us on dirty restaurants and we, on our part, will alert the authorities to act against these irresponsible operators.

Please do not forward old pictures and videos of dirty eateries taken several months ago or those involving restaurants in other countries. Send us only recent or fresh incidents of dirty eateries.

It would be better if there are shots of rats, cockroaches, flies or other pests visible in the eatery.

We plan to highlight eateries that are dirty and messy, and those who cut meat and vegetables at back lanes or beside drains.

In your email, please include your name, contact number, the restaurant’s name and its full address before sending it to metro@thestar.com.my, and, yes, we keep your information confidential.

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