FAMILY members of food traders involved in preparing food for sale at Ramadan bazaars in Johor are required to get typhoid jabs.
Johor Health Department deputy director (Safety and Food Quality) Zalilah Nasir said the laws that applied to traders also applied to others who were involved in food handling, including home-based food businesses.
This includes attending online food handling courses approved by the Health Ministry, keeping good personal hygiene and ensuring their work stations are clean.
“They must ensure that their food production process is adequate, including capacity of the kitchen and utensils as well as keeping them clean.
“Their work station should also be clean before and after they prepare food, especially at home, ” she said.
Zalilah added that food handlers should adhere to the new norm of washing their hands before and after handling food, using separate chopping boards for raw and cooked food, wearing appropriate and clean clothes, using personal protective equipment (PPE), and using hand sanitiser and wearing a face mask.
“They should also avoid smoking near the food, not cough or sneeze in the direction of the food, and avoid touching food with their bare hands.
“They must ensure the food packaging is clean and are not reused items. Food that has side dishes should be placed in packaging that has compartments or packed separately to avoid cross-contamination, ” she explained.
Zalilah said the time the food was prepared should be stated to ensure customers consume the food within four hours of purchase.
Processed food such as cakes, biscuits and frozen food must have proper food labelling as required in the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985, she said.
She added that this also applied to food delivery riders. Besides adhering to the standard operation procedure, riders must ensure that food delivered was well packed and placed in a clean thermal bag, she said.
Customers, she added, should buy food from reliable traders whose premises are clean, and practise seeing and smelling to avoid eating stale food.
Food operators who fail to comply will be liable to a fine of no more than RM10,000 or jailed for a maximum of two years under the Food Act 1983 and Food Hygiene Regulations 2009.
“To date, the State Health Department has not received any reports of food poisoning at Ramadan bazaars, ” she added.