State Health Dept orders two eateries to close in Sandakan due to pest infestations

KOTA KINABALU: Health authorities ordered two eateries to close down after they found infestations by pests such as cockroaches, flies and rats in the premises in Sabah’s east coast Sandakan district.

The state Health Department made the discovery during a two-day inspection held in the town area starting from Tuesday (March 21).

Sandakan health officer Dr Johari Awang Besar said owners of eateries or premises selling food were responsible in ensuring their areas were clean and hygienic.

"However, some premises were found not to have cared about this matter to the extent it led to infestations by pests like flies, cockroaches and rats," he said in a statement here on Thursday (March 23).

"As a result, two such premises were ordered closed immediately by the authorities.

"This closure is to allow the owners to carry out cleaning work and make the necessary improvements," he added.

Johari said they checked a total of 21 food premises in the exercise, adding 13 were served notices for various health violations.

Eight premises were issued notices for breaches involving the owners’ failure to execute their responsibilities, three for violations involving training of food handlers and one each for food handlers’ improper attire and self-hygiene.

He added the notices were issued under Section 32B of the Food Act 1983 to the premises for flouting the rules under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009.

Towards this end, Johari urged the public to report to the Sandakan health office if they found any instances of dirty food premises.

This was important, he said, in order to help the authorities to detect such outlets so they could prevent food poisoning in the district.

He said health operations were also meant to ensure food being sold to the public were safe and consumable.

"Officers who conduct the operation will ensure all food handlers take care of their self-cleanliness besides looking out for practices that could lead to food contamination," he said, adding food handlers must also attend a course certified by the Health Ministry.

These food handlers must also have a health card that showed the validity of their typhoid injection.

"Besides that, the exercise will also scrutinise the utensils and tools used so that they would be clean, suitable and easy to wash," Johari said.

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