[size=150]Miri tightens hygiene rules[/size]
Thursday January 18, 2007
MIRI: A new benchmark for food hygiene and public health in Sarawak is to be established following a decision by the Miri City Council to only allow food outlets that have passed very stringent hygiene requirements to operate.
The council decided that only outlets certified under Class A and Class B, the top two categories, will be allowed to sell food.
The food outlet rating system was implemented a few years ago. Food outlets in this border city are classified from Class A to Class E depending on their standard of cleanliness, the way the food is prepared and handled, the condition of the toilets, the lighting, the space, and the cleanliness of the utensils, among other things.
Class A are those in the high-class categories, like air-conditioned restaurants, while Class E are those outlets operating in old coffeeshops and on the streets.
Miri City Council will be the first local authority in Sarawak to limit the issuance of licence for public food catering to only two categories.
The council had informed the state government of the decision, and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam supported the move.
Miri Mayor Datuk Wee Han Wen said yesterday that the rating system for food outlets would be marked up by considerable levels to ensure that only those outlets that were clean and professionally managed were allowed to sell food to the public.
We used to allow food outlets up to Class E classification to operate. This will be a thing of the past. Very soon, only those outlets that are certified under Class A and B will be given the licence to operate, Wee said after a meeting chaired by Dr Chan here.
Wee, who is the also chairman of the Miri City Corporate Committee for Environment and Health, said in the past, the council had exercised a lot of tolerance, even allowing those that only managed to attain Class E to sell food.
Due to increased health threats and greater concern on health issues, the council must be more stringent in ensuring the cleanliness of food sold to the public, he said.
Dr Chan said the state government supported the councils tough stance and hoped it would be emulated statewide.