EATERY operators have been urged to be responsible in food handling following the closure of 12 food premises in Penang for failing the state Health Department’s hygiene requirements.
The premises comprised several famous nasi kandar outlets and restaurants in the Little India enclave in George Town, of which some were found to have rat and cockroach droppings.
The 12 eateries were instructed to close for 14 days under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983 during an inspection carried out on a total of 25 food premises and four food factories in the state.
State Health director Dr Wan Mansor Hamzah, who led the operation in Little India on Thursday evening, said eateries that managed to prove that their premises are clean within the two weeks will be given permission to resume business ahead of time.
“However, the closure can also continue for an additional two weeks if they fail to meet the requirements by the end of the two weeks,” he said.
State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said operators need to be vigilant in ensuring the cleanliness of the premises and that the food handlers they employed were protected from diseases.
He said a total of 136 people, which included 94 foreigners were checked if they were given typhoid jabs.
“A majority of the foreigners had fulfilled the requirement.
“Instead, it was a majority of the locals employed who did not get the typhoid jabs. This is a problem.
“It means that our own citizens did not act responsibly,” he said.
The state Health Department added that the inspection was carried out under Ops Penang Sihat, which started from 8am to 11pm.
On the same day, they also conducted enforcement for smoking within the George Town World Heritage Site and carried out enforcement on premises found with aedes breeding grounds.