Blacklist repeat errant food producers

We refer to the 2008 closure of a factory in Kepala Batas which produces seafood-based products.

The State Health Department authorities found that the factory operator had stored pork together with other products in the freezer, used a banned preservative and also used recycled oil for cooking. In addition, the oil was stored in unhygienic recycled plastic containers.

It is appalling that this same factory was also ordered to close for 2 weeks last year because it failed to comply with hygiene regulations. There appears to be no lasting changes as manufacturers get back to business as usual almost immediately after a “slap on the wrist” by the authorities.

Firm action is needed to deter errant food manufacturers and food handlers. Warnings and temporary closures do not appear to have the desired effect. Action should be such that owners of food operations do not dare contravene the law for fear of the drastic consequences. The Food Establishment Bylaws 1991 must be effectively enforced so that food manufacturers comply with the requirements for proper food storage and other critical aspects of food handling and processing.

Regular checks should be carried on food premises and a close eye kept on first-time offenders.

The Ministry of Health could also prominently highlight the identity of owners and food companies that contravene the law: Repeat offenders must be publicly blacklisted and prevented from operating thereafter.

It is unacceptable for consumers to continually be put at risk in this manner by irresponsible food manufacturers. CAP calls on the Ministry of Health to act.