CAN WE HAVE OUR FOOD HANDLERS ACT – AGAIN PLEADS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

On the eve of my live Talk Show on TV3 on the whole question of – Dirty eateries and the rights of consumers, I revisit my continued appeal for this legislation!

CAN WE HAVE OUR FOOD HANDLERS ACT – AGAIN PLEADS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

I am done with asking what ever happened to that much hyped statutory provision that we all contributed to call the ‘Organ Transplant Act?’

I am advised it is gathering dust because some Taliban, religious morons and idiots didn’t have their way with it so it’s in the cold storage?

I would not even ask about the speed breakers on all public and heavy vehicles much lobbied for the safety of those using Malaysian roads with its super high casualty figures in the ASEAN neighborhood!

But let me address another matter that I have addressed from time immemorial the inexplicable reason why we still have food poisoning cases when those providing the service are considered super halal protocol followers?

I remember on February 5th 2010 I spoke and highlighted at length on the critical need of a well addressed and comprehensive Food Handlers Act for Malaysia!

I remember my discussions with both the Minister and the then director General of Health who were very supportive of my concerns!

Fast forward 23 June 2018 – mainstream newspapers then went at length on the same topic in a run up and justification of shutting the door on cooks in the Malaysian business kitchen!

As always these are two separate issues!

If you want to close the door go ahead, but, only after a white paper on the justification of such, a comprehensive discussion with stakeholders at the gaps, and the facts revolving why such a fast track knee jerk reaction without consultation and whose interest being served?

Most important – what will the economic costs be to businesses nationwide at all the tiers?

And the flashpoints in escalation of minefields in international diplomacy with our neighbors whose citizens are sent packing off without proper and adequate remuneration or heads up to respective governments therein?

So if you are going to minimize foreigners in our hospitality/service sector or 3D jobs, first have the common decency to start a conversation with the real stakeholders!

Not the “political high powered business mafia heads who have been operating from rag to riches using foreign workers funds from the onset to build their today’s brand names in the Malaysian space!

Let us initiate the protocols and the guidelines but shut up until the system is in place!

Now fast track to February 2020, back to my appeal for a Food Handlers Act!

Yes, I sound like John the Baptist – a voice crying in the wilderness urging, appealing and screaming for a comprehensive Food Handlers Act in Malaysia!

The reasons are aplenty from the ineffectiveness of the Food Act 1985 which is outdated, to the sorry, corrupt and ineffectiveness of our enforcement and total invasion of this sector by foreigners from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Africa, Middle East and West Asian countries to our own Malaysians!

With the reemergence of many once eradicated diseases, we need to question and seek answers to the present problems brought about by apathy, incompetence, corruption and sheer lack of political and professional will!

So if my appeal for a Food Handlers Act is favorable –

What do they cover?

The Regulations applies to all types of food and drink and their ingredients.

But some businesses – generally manufacturers of products of animal origin, such as dairies or wholesale fish markets – follow their own product specific regulations.

These regulations are listed

Identifying and controlling food hazards

As the proprietor of a food business, you are expected to make sure food is supplied or sold in a hygienic way; to identify food safety hazards; know which steps in your activities are critical for food safety; ensure safety controls are in place, maintained and reviewed.

And their controls do not have to be complex.

There are systems that can be used by food businesses to ensure that hazards are identified and controls are in place.

For example – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is one of a number of such systems.

The Regulations aim to set out basic hygiene principles, which are generally not new. But their emphasis is different from previous regulations.

They focus more strongly on how to identify and control food safety risks at each stage of the process of preparing and selling food.

Rather than simply following a list of rules, the Regulations let you assess the risk to food safety and then apply controls relevant to your own situation.

This will work provided you are accountable and ethical!

But the majority of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ – business head are not in their pursuit because they favor maximizing profits!

But in all fairness – not all the requirements for the structure and equipment of food premises will apply to you.
Some are followed by the words where appropriate or where necessary!

For example, one provision states that, where appropriate floors must allow surface drainage.

But where you have a system to ensure water does not build up, so that there is no risk to food safety, actual floor drains may not be necessary.

So there is no absolute requirement to have them.

Basic requirements for food businesses

Food premises should be clean and maintained in good repair; be designed and constructed to permit good hygiene practices; have an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water;
have suitable controls in place to protect against pests; have adequate natural and/or artificial lighting; have sufficient natural and/or mechanical ventilation; provide clean lavatories which do not lead directly into food rooms; have adequate hand washing facilities; be provided with adequate drainage.

Let us not forget that rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed should generally have surface finishes which are easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect.

This would, for instance, apply to wall, floor and equipment finishes.

The rooms should also have:

Adequate facilities for washing food and equipment;

Adequate facilities for the storage and removal of food waste.

Of course, many of the Regulations are basic minimum hygiene standards which apply to every food business.

But how they are applied still depends on the situation.

For example, every food premises must be kept clean.

But how they are cleaned, and how often, will be different for a manufacturer of ready-to-eat meals than for bakery selling bread or even fast food outlets!

Supplies of raw materials

Do not buy or supply any raw materials if you think that even after sorting or processing they could make food unfit for human consumption.

Any material which you suspect or know to be infected or contaminated with parasites or foreign substances to this extent should be rejected.

Quality of Water in food

There must be an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water, to be used whenever necessary to ensure food is not contaminated.

In the vast majority of cases, this is supplied via the public water supply.

And our public water system today is compromised!

And if there is any doubt about the quality of a water supply, you should seek advice from your local council Environmental Health Services.

Personal hygiene for food handlers

Now the meat of my argument!

Anyone who works in a food handling area must maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness.

And the way in which they work must also be clean and hygienic.

Food handlers must wear clean and, where appropriate, protective over-clothes. Anyone whose work involves handling food should/must:

Observe good personal hygiene;

Routinely wash their hands when handling food;

Never smoke in food handling areas; report any illness (like infected wounds, skin infections, and diarrhea or vomiting) to their manager or supervisor immediately.

If any employee reports that they are suffering from any such illness, the business may have to exclude them from food handling areas.

This is today questionable in Malaysian outlets!

Such action should be taken urgently.

If you have any doubt about the need to exclude, you should seek urgent medical advice!

Employers must not send them to work fully knowing that they are ill as many do today because those ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ types with their “political connections’ want the workers to work irrespective what?

Preventing food contamination

Here we have failed in super class!

All prepared food is openly displayed and from customers to insects and pests (Cats and rats included!)

Food handlers must protect food and ingredients against contamination which is likely to render them unfit for human consumption or a health hazard.

For example, uncooked poultry should not contaminate ready-to-eat foods, either through direct contact or through work surfaces or equipment.

How often have we seen them together!

Training and supervising food handlers

Our food handlers come from challenged societies in several ASEAN and South Indian continent – where several diseases continue to operate more so ones Malaysia had in the past eradicated but since the arrivals of workers and big profits for politicians, manpower agents, business operators cum agents in the greed for the foreign workers commissions this is been compromised!

So it is vital that food handlers must receive adequate supervision, instruction and/or training in food hygiene.

Do they?

Each food business must decide what training or supervision their food handlers need by identifying the areas of their work most likely to affect food hygiene.

Many of the guidelines in this guidance apply equally to food businesses trading from temporary or occasional locations like those under the tree, stalls, by hawkers, entrenched sites, canteens and so forth.

But because not all of them will be practical, there are also some slightly different requirements.

However, wherever food is sold, two basic rules always apply:

There should be adequate facilities to prepare and serve food safely; and

Food handling procedures should avoid exposing food to risk of a contamination.

Even some fast food and high end outlets are guilty of this from consumer feedback and our observations.

I have repeatedly asked those operating under such licenses to read again the conditions of their franchise from the mother company in the United States, the UK, Europe, and Spain, Germany or the cold terrains of the North Pole!

Can our stakeholders bravely commit and say in February 2020 – No to any more food poisoning incidences or worst the continued increase of diseases we had at one time eradicated!

COVID-19 CAN WE TRUST CHINA’S FIGURES ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

‘Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe the COVID-19 infection numbers are actually much higher than the Chinese government is reporting.
I too have my fears!
So, the pertinent question is, can we trust the Chinese government?’
COVID-19 CAN WE TRUST CHINA’S FIGURES ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!
No one can deny that the world over, more so in China ordinary people are often afraid to report bad news, because the government has allegedly a history of punishing those who do!
For example there are reports that Police in Yunnan province punished medical workers for sharing information about what was going on in their areas.
Most importantly can we now ever forget that dedicated doctor Li Wenliang, who first spoke out about the need for urgent action and shared his observations with medical associates?
The response from the authority was that he was formally reprimanded for rumor-mongering!
That action in itself resulted in a delay of weeks before the problem was taken seriously.
Sadly, Dr Li died last week at the age of 34, apparently after he contracted it from a patient.
Has anything changed from that tragedy?
There are many countries around the world who behave such!
They threaten whistle blowers; they use the deep state or the security apparatus to harass the former!
Some use draconian statutes!
We are also told some whistle-blowers have disappeared?
In this global epidemic we are still told that the Chinese government continues to censor news and social media.
And when censorship is initiated, it not only keeps the rest of the world from being updated on a very dangerous outbreak which has impacted several countries but creates an information gap for the government at the epicenter of the disease outbreak from keeping track of the issues!
Those of us who have addressed crisis management and corporate communication therein know that this is a problem for any organization, to some degree.
People reporting to higher-ups generally try to put the best possible spin on things. If the reports go through several layers of management, the end result could wind up pretty far removed from the reality, from truth matters on the ground or epicenter.
Unless they follow the golden rule of addressing the issue with accountability, good governance and transparency so that the truth will be revealed and that caveats the spins and distortions of the fake news incubators and abusers of the social media!
For now we know that the Wuhan coronavirus has infected more than 45,000 people.
Is that figure correct one may ask?
The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,600, as the World Health Organization (WHO) ironically praised the country’s efforts to contain the new disease, saying they have “bought the world time” and that other nations must make the most of it.
Whatever that means in the common man’s language?
France, meanwhile, reported Europe’s first death from the infection, a Chinese tourist from Hubei province, where the disease, known as COVID-19, emerged in December.
There are claims that the rate of new infections is allegedly slowing in China and is that true again?
But outside of China, new infections continue to grow at an alarming rate.
According to a mathematical model from the CDC, there are reports that China may be under reporting the data.
Among the points emphasized is that the disease is still concentrated in mainland China, with over 70% of the infected residing in Hubei province.
But despite the staggering scope of the outbreak, independent scientists still think China is under reporting the crisis.
There is a trust deficiency issue here!
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe the COVID-19 infection numbers are actually much higher than the Chinese government is reporting.
I too have my fears!
So, the pertinent question is, can we trust the Chinese government?

AS MH370 ANNIVERSARY APPROACHES SO DO FAKES, SELF SERVING SHENANIGANS, WORMS AND STORY TELLING BY OPPORTUNISTS!

‘I will now predict more stories will now surface, inexplicably, from tomorrow with the same actors and actresses positioning themselves as ‘white knights, saviors, dedicated heros, as the March 8th 2014 anniversary approaches!’

AS MH370 ANNIVERSARY APPROACHES SO DO FAKES, SELF SERVING SHENANIGANS, WORMS AND STORY TELLING BY OPPORTUNISTS!

An idiot, who will not be named, went on record asking, when I was coming out of my slumber.

When was I ever in slumber?

Since these shenanigans obviously missed me, here I am!

But I am super glad that the Malaysian government had gone on record, in response to a fake report stating families of victims and the Malaysian government was currently looking to send seabed searcher, Ocean Infinity, on a new quest to find the missing flight.

The governments timely response, debunks these stories, where certain individuals, fakes, pretenders, shenanigans, story and fiction documentary tellers even a certain NOK individual seem recklessly spinning stories!

Then there is that continued recycled fake news, about assassination plots, death threats, hits, by deep state operatives but interestingly, those making those claims are still happily hoping on to planes and visiting the epicenters where they have claimed these plots exist?

Then you have even claims of new debris, which again is fake news!

As pointed out in my old postings, these were all old 2014/2016 debris, some unrelated others still unconfirmed, as from MH370!

But the fact is, these are all old stuff, many never handed over to the Malaysian authorities though claimed they have, but retained and toyed with for media sensationalism as the anniversary again approaches?

And of late, inexplicably timed with a certain documentary’s advent?

Nothing seem sacred even the dead, if a few pennies, new books published, talk-shows and more Indiana Jones type media stories can be printed to help boast egos of persona non gratas?

So yes, I told the Malaysian government authorities and lauded their official statement that debunked the narrative that there was secret talks and impending new search!

Yes, we are glad that the Transport Ministry too, went on record to state quite clearly, that it has not made any decision to launch a new search mission, for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as there has not been any new credible evidence to initiate such a process.

The operative word is ‘credible’ for those masquerading as lawyers or experts making statements who are unfamiliar with this term?

There is a protocol in place, which must be fulfilled.
In addition, all stakeholders must be consulted!

I will now predict more stories will now surface, inexplicably, from tomorrow with the same actors and actresses positioning themselves as ‘white knights, saviors, dedicated heros, as the March 8th 2014 anniversary approaches!

ARE MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES TOOTHLESS TO ACT AGAINST THE POISONING OF OUR WATERWAYS ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE?

‘This is in my mind a crime against humanity when the drinking water of a community is being threatened by acts and omissions!’

ARE MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES TOOTHLESS TO ACT AGAINST THE POISONING OF OUR WATERWAYS ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE?

This matter was raised from 1979 by this writer and it is disheartening that apart from fake assurances, cosmetic enforcement, high octave speeches by politicians and ministers and head of states, nothing constructive has happened to address the issue!

Yes, we have the Ministry of Environment, the Local Government Ministry as well, we have a huge civil service population paid by ratepayers and of course, and we went further setting up even a commission!

But has anything changed?

I ask a pertinent question whether our water supply is, or has been, contaminated by the illegal dumpsites and various forms of pollution from human and river bank activities and private land used for illegal dumping by criminals and cartels who pay land owners?

And this get complicated with the same land transformed into landfills full of electronics, plastic, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and industrial wastes from Japan, the United States, and Poland, among others.

This is in my mind a crime against humanity when the drinking water of a community is being threatened by acts and omissions!

Acts by criminals making huge monies providing a service of turning our waterways, areas close to our waterways into a landfill or dumpsites!

And due to omission by the stakeholders who close both eyes despite adequate statutes and legislature because they have been compromised?

In the past the threats were rapid economic development and urbanization which had resulted in degradation and depletion of natural resources, including water and related ecosystem services.

Questions can now be raised whether many rivers in Malaysia are highly polluted with domestic, industrial and agricultural waste, causing the Water Quality Index (WQI) to reach unsafe levels?

Excuse me, YB Minister, it is no longer about the installation of trash traps, the upgrading of flood catchment ponds, sewage treatment plant, and sewerage systems!

It is no longer the political rhetoric about an integrated approach for protecting urban water bodies, developing relevant legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms!

It is now about a high powered criminalization of those who are aiding, abetting and carrying out works that threaten our source of drinking water!

This is now a national security issue – period!

WHO – YOU ARE A DISGRACE SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

 

‘A PHEIC will facilitate global teams of experts to assist China.

I also asked how many deaths it will take for a PHEIC to be declared.

Let us put aside international politics aside, please!

It is no rocket science as a declaration of an international emergency will undoubtedly sharpen governments’ focus on protecting citizens and for international experts to also go to the epicenter to assist!’

WHO – YOU ARE A DISGRACE SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

More than 213 by now may be killed in China, after all when has China come clean on statistics?

Now more than 18 countries have been affected and fear mounting on citizens.

Tibet has reported its first confirmed case. This means that all of China’s provinces and territories have now been touched by the outbreak.

Countries and territories that have confirmed cases: Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Macau, France, the United States, South Korea, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Britain, Vietnam, Italy, India, the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Finland.

Cases recorded in Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam, Japan, France and the United States involved patients who had not been to China.

Let us thank GOD that no deaths have been reported outside China.

Now after pussy footing finally the World Health Organization (WHO) is declaring the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency!

They finally had a conversion experience?

Sadly, Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 42 additional deaths according to the latest statement from the Health Commission of Hubei Province.

Not just that now there are reports that 1,220 new confirmed cases therein over the last 24-hour period.

While records show that the vast majority of 9,480 cases detected globally have been in China, we have nearly 100 cases emerging in other countries!

There is anger in many countries that from the onset were reluctant to close one’s borders and cut all incoming flights from China.

And where it mattered WHO dropped the ball!

Perhaps, WHO were playing politics in not wanting to upset Beijing?

On the onset, based on trust issues in China there should have been tighter containment and leadership by example by the WHO!

And lock down is not the answer going forward!

There is now fear about person-to-person transmission cases outside China, which suggest a greater potential for the virus to spread further.

I am curious to know whether the incident where the United States becoming the fourth country to report person-to-person transmission was why WHO was pressured to act?

Several days ago I had screamed that WHO must declare the 2019-nCoV outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)!

Why do I say that?

A PHEIC will facilitate global teams of experts to assist China.

I also asked how many deaths it will take for a PHEIC to be declared.

Let us put aside international politics aside, please!

It is no rocket science as a declaration of an international emergency will undoubtedly sharpen governments’ focus on protecting citizens and for international experts to also go to the epicenter to assist!

Now Italy became the latest country to declare confirmed cases.

Their Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte went on record to claim that two cases had been detected.

I am very happy that neighbors Singapore and Mongolia have bared entries from China.

Singapore has announced a sweeping ban on Chinese visitors and other foreigners who had been to China in the past 14 days, in an escalation of travel restrictions by the Southeast Asian transportation hub.

Singapore will also stop issuing all forms of visas to people holding Chinese passports.

I do not blame them as currently it has 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Like Singapore the government of Mongolia, a landlocked country between China and Russia, has closed its border with China.

Syabas, I say to these countries leadership!