KOTA KINABALU: Nine Ramadan stall operators were handed compound notices of RM100 each for various health violations at bazaars in Sabah’s east coast Sandakan district on Monday (March 27).
Officers from the Sandakan health office held the exercise together with the health unit from the Sandakan Municipal Council in the town area.
Sandakan health officer Dr Johari Awang Besar, who led the operation, said the nine hawkers were issued compound notices as they failed to comply with the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009.
"We checked 60 out of the 164 stalls and found six hawkers who failed to follow the rules in their food preparations," he told reporters after the operation.
He said among the offences committed were not having typhoid injection health cards for their workers, the absence of food handler certificates and failure to ensure cleanliness at their respective stalls.
"The operation was aimed at making sure the food items being sold were safe and compliant to the Food Act 1983 as well as the Food Regulations 1985 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009," he added.
Dr Johari said the operation would be continuously held with the Sandakan Municipal Council in town as well as at Mile 8 and Sejati Ujana which were under the latter’s jurisdiction.
He added similar exercises would also be held at Ramadan bazaar locations that were managed by private parties or non-governmental bodies.
Meanwhile, he said a restaurant in the district was fined RM1,000 after it was found there were flies on the food meant to be sold as part of the buka puasa menu.
He said the department made the discovery following a complaint from the public.
"On the other hand, we received another report from an individual who bought ikan keli (fish) at one of the bazaars in Sandakan that contained fly eggs while eating the food.
"We are investigating the matter and will take into account the complainant’s report by carrying out an inspection," Dr Johari said.
Towards this end, he urged the public to make assessments of their own before buying food from any hawker stall.
He said consumers should only consider stalls that, among others, do not leave food items uncovered, workers wearing aprons and have good general cleanliness.
At the same time, he advised hawkers to have optimum food hygiene practices so the food being sold to people was safe for consumption.