KOTA KINABALU: Some 700 Health Department personnel have been mobilised to inspect and monitor Ramadan bazaars throughout Sabah until the end of the fasting month.
State Health director Datuk Dr Rose Nani Mudin said this was to ensure such bazaars only sold food that was safe for consumption.
Dr Rose Nani said her team had checked 277 stalls in bazaars in the Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Tawau, Sandakan and Kudat districts since Monday (March 27).
“Following the checks, we issued 21 compound notices to food operators under Section 32B of the Food Act 1983,” she told reporters after visiting the Ramadan bazaar at Lintasan Deasoka here on Tuesday (March 28).
“Most of the notices were for offences such as not wearing aprons, long fingernails, absence of food handling certification and no typhoid vaccine injection, among others.
“We took four food samples for testing earlier and will be taking samples at this bazaar today.
“This is routine to ensure there is no food contamination. We will send samples to the lab for testing and the results will come back in five days,” she added.
Dr Rose Nani said the 21 compound notices were mostly reminders to hawkers to follow the rules although some were heavier such as RM100 compounds.
“But it doesn’t necessarily have to be RM100 because (if an offence was found) we will launch an investigation and assess the penalty.
“Ultimately, what’s important is cleanliness and food hygiene,” she said.
It was reported on Monday that nine Ramadan stall operators were handed compound notices of RM100 each for various health violations at bazaars in Sabah’s east coast Sandakan district.
Sandakan health officer Dr Johari Awang Besar had said among the offences committed were not having typhoid injection health cards for their workers, the absence of food handling certificates and failure to ensure cleanliness at their stalls.
Towards this end, Dr Rose Nani said the aim of the exercise was to educate the people to assess for themselves which food was clean and safe to consume, apart from ensuring that stalls sold hygienic food items.
Besides Ramadan bazaars, she said, the department would also monitor eateries and restaurants in the state.
She urged the public to channel any complaints to the Health Department by scanning a QR code displayed at the Ramadan bazaars.
“The system will be checked every day so we will know what people are complaining about,” she said.
Besides that, she added that the public can also communicate through the Sabah Healthline WhatsApp number at 019-860 2929 or through the Health Ministry website at https://moh.spab.gov.my/eApps/system/index.do.