GEORGE TOWN: They shone ultraviolet light in the nooks and crannies and rat urine stains glowed in response.
As for the rat dung, it was clear to the naked eye. More than 50 little black faecal pellets from rodents were on a wok left in the sink.
It was used to make traditional Indian sweetmeats, and the rat dung were all over the leftover orange confection still in the wok.
There were more dung pellets on the red lid of a bin next to the wok.
Health inspectors checked on several eateries in Penang Road that were popular with tourists and were stunned to find that rats had unhindered access to Monirul Corner’s back kitchen.
The restaurant was ordered to close for two weeks and cleaned up, along with Tong Seng Hainan Chicken Rice and Kek Seng Cafe, popular for its signature ice kacang that comes with its in-house durian ice-cream and jelly.
All the outlets also had rat droppings in their shops.
Rat dung and urine transmit a wide range of diseases, including the life-threatening leptospirosis. It can also trigger a chain of salmonella infections, which while not deadly, can spread quickly and trigger diarrhoea for days.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the state Health Department recently stepped up enforcement operations to protect public health.
The state was recently struck by a two-fold increase in outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease and dengue fever that has affected more than 4,000 people this year.
About 20 officers inspected six eateries along Penang Road.
They issued 10 compounds ranging from RM100 to RM250 for offences such as discharging waste into the drains and other unhygienic practices.
MBPP senior health officer Goh Eng Chun said the city council wanted to enhance the level of cleanliness at eateries here.
“This is our third inspection since July 12. With more tourists coming to visit the island, we have to ensure that the food is clean and safe,” he said.
Goh added that from now on, surprise inspections would be carried out weekly instead of fortnightly.
In Kota Baru, seven popular eateries were ordered to close for flouting cleanliness rules, including installing pipes through drains.
Kota Baru Islamic City Municipal Council president Ahmad Robert Abdul Rahim said they had ordered the premises to close for two weeks.
A total of 15 premises were inspected on Wednesday as part of an ongoing joint operation with the health authorities to grade food outlets.
The council had also slapped four operators with compound notices for breaching licensing conditions.