Dept goes on state-wide inspection
By NIGEL EDGAR
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi … ec=sarawak
KUCHING: Dirty eateries and coffee shops in the state must buck up as the Health Department will be going down to enforce the new Food Hygiene Regulation (FHR) 2009 which is part of the Food Act 1983.
Assistant director of legal affairs and prosecution in the departments inspectorate and enforcement section, Samuil-Ashton Satu, told The Star yesterday that in the ongoing statewide operation, he and his men would go around and do an on-the-spot training, enforcing the regulation and at the same time spread awareness among food handlers and outlet operators on the regulation.
This operation is being carried out following our yearly action plan and directives from the Health Ministry. We go down to the ground and assist district Health Departments to enforce the FHR 2009 with on-the-spot training.
For outlets or handlers found to have violated the regulations, there are two options total or partial closure of the premises, he explained.
Total closure would be enforced if the whole premises did not adhere to the regulations while partial closure if part of the premises had violated the regulation.
The premises can only be open after it has adhered to the regulations. At the same time we are also telling these operators and food handlers on the FHR 2009 and the different rates of compound and penalties, explained Samuil.
As to when the FHR 2009 would be fully imposed, he said it would be up to the Health Ministry.
Samuil also said health departments throughout the state often held programmes and talks on FHR 2009, but it would not be as effective as going down to the ground to conduct on-the-spot training enforcement.
Usually those attending the talks and seminars are business owners, and not those handling the food directly. So in operations like this we get to go down to the ground and meet the food handlers directly and effectively get the message across, he said.
Since the on-the-spot training inspection started earlier this month, nine premises had been ordered to close for violation of the Food Act 1983 and its regulations.
There were three in Limbang, three in Lawas and three in Miri, said Samuil, who hoped that this would serve as a warning to other premises as well.
He also pointed out that the current operations, which would be carried out until the end of this year, would focus on matters under the Food Act 1983 and its Regulations, especially the FHR 2009 and Control of Tobacco Products Regulations (CTPR) 2004; and Destruction of Disease-Bearing Insect Act (DDBIA) 1975.
Samuil said at the moment, food sellers and food handlers would not be compounded for every offence detected under the FHR as the closures were partly to make them aware of the enforcement operations.
It is a sort of on-the-spot training for those who sell and handle food, he said.
The compound rates would depend on the type of eateries. For example, a food factory would be fined RM2,500 if it fails to abide by Regulation 11 of the FHR.
A caterer would be fined RM1,000; restaurant or coffee shop or stall RM500; and food vehicle RM200.
Samuil said the rates were the same for not undergoing medical check-ups (Reg. 31) and not taking food handling course (Reg. 30); not maintaining cleanliness of food premises (Reg. 34) and utensils (Reg. 35); and not preparing, packaging and serving food according to the proper manner (Reg. 36).
He added that for a restaurant, a food handler could be compounded RM100 if he failed to wear the proper attire or had bad personal hygiene.
In an inspection, as many as 32 offences could be detected.
For a restaurant or coffee shop, the total compound fee for full-blown offences is RM12,650, he said. As such, he advised food sellers and handlers not to take it lightly.