ALL food outlets in Miri City will be compelled to sanitise with hot water all the forks, spoons and chopsticks that they provide to customers in their eateries.
This new requirement, imposed by the City Council, is to take effect immediately, said Mayor Lawrence Lai in Miri yesterday.
“Food outlets that cater to members of the public must sanitise their spoons, forks and chopsticks with hot water before they are handed over to customers for use.
“This is mandatory as we want to ensure that all food outlets adhere strictly to high standards of hygiene. It has also been proven by medical research that hot water can effectively destroy bacteria and virus, including the H1N1 influenza virus,’’ he told a press conference.
Lai said enforcement officers from the council’s Public Health Division would carry out stringent and regular checks throughout this city of 300,000 to ensure full compliance with the new regulation.
Miri City has eight different commercial and residential centres spread out over a 30km radius, with hundreds of coffeeshops and stalls operating daily, some of which operate round the clock.
Lai said cleanliness of food utensils was a matter that could be compromised as it affects the health of the masses.
On a related matter, he said the council would upgrade the wet markets located at commercial centres into tourist-standard markets not only to ensure their cleanliness and tidiness, but also to turn them into tourist attractions.
“This will most probably be implemented during the coming Ramadan, where we will turn these markets into places for people to enjoy good food.
“We will provide these markets with proper amenities like toilets and water-supply for the convenience of traders and visitors,’’ he added.
On a separate issue, Lai said every residential estate in Miri would soon have to hire its own grass-cutting contractors.
The council will pay the contractors’ fees, but the residential committees will have to liaise with these contractors on the schedules for the grass cutting to be carried out in public places, he said.
The residents must monitor the work of these contractors and make sure their estates are kept clean and neat at all times, he added.
Lai said the council was trying out this method to “empower’’ the residents and train them to take over more responsibilities for the upkeep of their respective housing areas.