Spilling the beans on dirty food makers


Enforcement officers checking the tofu sheets packed for sale.

AN illegal factory processing fucuk (thin dried tofu sheets) in Jalan Bukit Tambun, Juru, Bukit Mertajam, has been ordered to close for two weeks due to unhygienic conditions.

Penang Health Department enforcement chief Ong Ang Guan said the factory was operating without licence from the Seberang Prai Municipal Council.

“The factory is dirty and has been running illegally,” he said after the Ops Penang Sihat 7 operations at the premises on Thursday.

He said during the operation, four Indonesian and Vietnamese workers interviewed said they had yet to attend the compulsory food safety course nor taken their vaccination shot against typhoid.

Ong said the 41-year-old factory operatorhad been told to carry out necessary cleaning work.

“We hope other premises involved in food processing will ensure cleanliness is always maintained and that their food is safe to consume to maintain public health”.

He said the operation was the seventh one for the year carried out under the Food Act 1983, Food Regulations 1985 and Food Hygiene Regulations 2009, Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 and Destruction of Disease-Bearing Insects Act (DDBIA) 1975.

State Health Department enforcement officers checking the fucuk or tofu sheets made of soybeans at the factory during the ‘Operasi Penang Sihat’ in Juru, Bukit Mertajam. — Photos: MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star
State Health Department enforcement officers checking the fucuk or tofu sheets made of soybeans at the factory during the ‘Operasi Penang Sihat’ in Juru, Bukit Mertajam. — Photos: MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star  

Ong added that the factory operator was slapped with a compound of RM2,500 for not sending his workers to attend the food safety course.

He noted that the factory did not comply with Regulation 9 of the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009, which requires food safety assurance programmes at all food processing factories.

The four workers were also issued compounds of RM300 each for not wearing proper attire such as apron and cap.

He said the integrated operation involving six teams in two shifts, 9am to 4pm and 7pm to 11pm was carried out at food-related industries, alcohol-selling outlets, restaurants and food premises all over the central Seberang Prai district.

Apart from the Health Department, it involved enforcement officers from MPSP as well as the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry.

For the first shift, 52 premises were examined comprising factories, restaurants, construction sites, scrap metal dealers, workshops, hospitals, clinics, government premises, education institutions, supermarkets, internet cafes, R&R areas and public parks.

A view of the dirty conditions outside the fucuk factory.
A view of the dirty conditions outside the fucuk factory. 

During the same time, three premises including the fucuk factory were issued with notices of closure.

Four notices were issued for cleanliness, four compounds for mosquito breeding, 21 compounds were issued at food industries and 23 more were issued for smoking at prohibited places.

He said the total value of compounds issued were RM39,500.

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