RECKLESS:Many food operators still not observing good hygiene practices
DESPITE constant reminders to maintain cleanliness and being slapped with fines from the local authorities, some restaurant operators remain ignorant when it comes to hygiene. Not only do rats and cockroaches run freely in their dirty outlets, their poorly-prepared food are also risky for consumption.
Streets went on a random check on restaurants, eateries and stalls in the Klang Valley to see whether the operators complied with the food handlers bylaws.
A worker at a restaurant in Bukit Bintang was seen clearing dishes next to the drain in the back alley with vegetable leftovers and styrofoam food containers strewn at the back lanes.
Watermelon skin and egg shells were just thrown everywhere instead of into a rubbish bin. Leftover food and other garbage were also dumped into communal bins without being put into plastic bags first to keep away rats and other pests.
In Bukit Jalil, food cleanliness and cooking methods were among the concerns raised by customers at a stretch of hawker stalls and food trucks selling food there.
"I have had diarrhoea after consuming food here. I believe it was because the cockles were not cooked well.
"However, my friends and I don't have a choice but to eat here as it is near our apartment and the food is cheap," said a university student who did not want to be identified.
She also said the food operators would rush to prepare the food when a lot of customers queue up, sometimes resulting in half-cooked dishes, especially chicken and beef.
"Cooking oil is usually recycled, especially for fried dishes. The oil is dark due to over-frying. They need to change it more often," she said.
She also said the students, who were busy with their coursework and examination, also had very little time on hand to do any cooking.
Another student suggested that proper food eateries be built near the condominiums as many students did not own cars to drive elsewhere to eat.
"These roadside stall operators, who operate from noon until late night, should place their raw food inside refrigerators," she said.
The student said she would avoid buying food from stalls where the food is exposed to dust and flies in containers without covers.
Meanwhile at Jalan Tun Abd Aziz, Kajang, we found a back alley drain, obviously without a grease trap, clogged with grease. This was the area that was hit by flash floods last December.
A Streets visit found the rubbish scattered in the back alleys with cats roaming there.
Our next stop was the popular food court in Damansara Uptown in Petaling Jaya.
Telecommunications engineer, Ahmed Faiz Yakob, 26, said the food court which would be flooded after a downpour should be quickly cleaned as the patrons' footwear would get wet when they visit the food court.
"The food court operator must also provide ashtrays on tables so that the patrons would not throw the ash and cigarette butts on the floor," he said.
We saw a lot of cigarette butts on the floor of this open-air food court.
He also said some patrons had the habit of feeding the stray cats by just throwing some food on the floor for the animals. He said this could lead to the breeding of rats as they scavenged for these leftovers.
We also noticed that while some workers diligently swept the floor after some customers leave, some had the habit of leaving the dirty dishes on the floor.
In Bandar Baru Ampang, we saw two rats scurrying about right under some patrons' tables. The sight of small cockroaches emerging from under the tables, were also quite common.