PENANG: When it comes to food outlets and eateries, operators scramble to claim theirs are the cleanest and sell the best food.
But this may not be the case with food outlets on the island going by the very poor response to the Cleanliness and Beautification of Food Premises Competition 2005.
With just two weeks before the closing date, the Penang Municipal Council-organised competition received only five entries out of more than 800 eligible food outlets on the island.
Councillor Geeta Suresh Chand said council officers spent the past month distributing entry forms to nearly all the outlets. The closing date is June 30. There is no entry fee for the competition.
Most outlets already have an entry form and the officers have encouraged the operators to take part, she told a press conference yesterday.
The councils Urban Services, Public Health and Licensing director Dr Goh Kok Yeong said there were about 1,300 licensed food premises and more than a quarter of them had been rated A by the council.
Geeta said the competition was for four months from July 15 to Nov 15. Prize money of RM2,000, RM1,500 and RM1,000 await the top three in each category, and winners will also be given a certificates.
Besides general cleanliness, food handling and maintenance of premises, the outlets will be judged on the atmosphere, such as brightness and ventilation, and amenities such as clean toilets and wash basins.
Bonus points will be given for friendly service, good public relations and creativity, she said.
While acknowledging that the cash prizes may not be attractive enough to hawkers who could earn that amount in a short time, Geeta said the competition was aimed at improving cleanliness at the outlets.
Many outlets already come under category B and the contest may be the little extra push to get them rated A. We encourage the operators to take part, as this will be good for their business, she said.
Entry forms are available at the councils public relations division at Level 4, Komtar, or its licensing division at Town Hall at the Esplanade. For details, call 04-2682167.
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