Recently the media reported that four fucuk (thin dried tofu sheets) factories in Sungai Bakap and Sungai Jawi, Penang were issued compound notices for operating in unhygienic conditions.
Penang Health Department’s Food Safety and Quality Division (BKMM) Environmental Health Officer, Encik Mohd Wazir Khalid said that the compound notices, worth RM8,500 were issued to the premises which were operating next to a former pig farm site, for violating Regulation 10 and Regulation 32 of the Food Act 1983.
We are of the opinion that Food Act 1983 should be amended, as Section 11 of the Act which states that they can “order the closure forthwith not exceeding fourteen days of any premises preparing or selling food” and “is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to fine or to both”, is not deterrent enough.
The penalties prescribed by Section 11 of the Act is grossly insufficient taking into consideration the large population of people that can be affected by the distribution of contaminated food from a factory.
Such filthy and unhygienic practices put the customers of these eateries at risk of food poisoning. They also tarnish the names of those who adhere to standard food handling practices.
CAP urges the Government to consider raising the fine to RM30,000 in regard of the serious health consequences in consuming unhygienic food and to amend the Food Act accordingly.
Press Statement, 23 February 2021