Ministry will not compromise safety in schools

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 26 Nov 2008

KLANG: The Education Ministry will not compromise on matters concerning the safety and health of students especially with regards to cases of food contamination and poisoning.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said potential food contamination incidents, especially in residential schools, must be identified and dealt with accordingly to prevent any untoward incidents.

As a measure to holistically tackle the problem, the ministry had initiated the 3K (Kebersihan, Keselamatan dan Kesihatan) campaign to focus on cleanliness, safety and health in schools.

“This is to initiate proactive measures and not wait until something happens before taking action or investigating the matter,” said Dr Wee, who heads the programme.

He was speaking to reporters Wednesday at the national level 3K awards ceremony held at a hotel near here.

He said 3K committees have been set up in schools to conduct inspections on canteens and food handling methods.

According to Dr Wee, the Health Ministry had also been roped in to grade school canteens according to their cleanliness level.

However, he added that there wouldn’t be any problems at all if the standard operating procedure to prepare and handle food formulated by the ministry was adhered to.

“For example if they buy fish and leave it exposed for eight hours before cooking it, there definitely will be a problem,” he said.

Dr Wee also said he had been receiving many calls and SMSes the last few days from people asking to ensure that food provided to rural schools under the food aid programme was safe.

“We are currently getting feedback from elected representatives as well as other relevant people from there to help improve the delivery of food to these areas,” he said.

Dr Wee added the callers suggested that the food delivered was vacuum packed or packaged in a manner, which made it safe for consumption.

He said there weren’t any problems sending food to remote schools in the peninsula but problems were abound in Sabah and Sarawak as schools were located in the interiors.

Dr Wee said a good method, which was hygienic but at the same time cost-effective must be looked into to counter the problem.

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