AVOID UNHEALTHY FOOD AND BOYCOTT DIRTY RESTAURANTS!

Dr Jacob George is president and legal adviser to the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa)

‘That one which is on a 24 hour shift, workers all walking around like zombies, unshaven, clothes all dirty, preparing and handling food with one’s naked hands who only earlier was seen scratching their private parts, noses or worst areas disgusting!’ – Dr Jacob George

AVOID UNHEALTHY FOOD AND BOYCOTT DIRTY RESTAURANTS!


In 2006, the Health Ministry then led by the proactive, non nonsense and visionary health minister, Dr Chua Soi Lek (above left) came out with a brilliant plan to meet non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives to work on a campaign to educate the public on the pros and cons of fast food.

His then concern was the food served by many of Malaysia’s fast food outlets and the damage they do to current and future generation of Malaysians!

Yes, lifestyle is a major problem and needs looking into!

He also warned the bottle drink industry on the excessive use of sugar and coloring!

I want to echo his concerns here and go a step further this morning as I call for a drastic comprehensive program or ‘War’ against Restaurants serving unhealthy food!

Even the need to call for a nationwide boycott of such restaurants!

We can start with that corner shop in your neighborhood!

That one which is on a 24 hour shift, workers all walking around like zombies, unshaven, clothes all dirty, preparing and handling food with one’s naked hands who only earlier was seen scratching their private parts, noses or worst areas disgusting!

A visit to their cooking area will also reveal how food is recycled, the area where food is prepared and cooked being dirty!

It is common to find rat’s aplenty, cockroaches and other strays within and in its backyard!

Look at the dishes and curries served and carry out a test on the level of salt, oil and fats therein!

You do not have to be a rocket scientist or a dietician – just walk in any restaurant popular for its nasi kandar, fried mee, roti chanai, nasi briyani or nasi minyak and check!

I am aware that there have been discussions on this – even – in the Dewan Rakyat recently where our parliamentarians were debating on advertising restrictions for fast foods claiming their detrimental effects on health of Malaysians but must I remind them that fast foods are not the sole culprits here!

So my call today is two fold!

I appeal to my friends in the Ministry of Health to familiarize themselves with the Food Act and perhaps hear my cry for the last twenty years for a ‘Food Handlers Act’ and in the meantime go do an unannounced walkabout cum ‘operasi’ on that corner shop!

I will bet you will find:

1. Food being prepared and sold in unhealthy and unhygienic conditions

2. Food handlers unshaven, in dirty attire serving food

3. Quality of meat, vegetables and other raw materials used poor.

4. Food being recycled: – example the friend fish, chicken or meat of yesterday today being sold as sambal fish, chicken or meat!

5. The level of fats and oil just unhealthy.

6. The environment of the said kitchen, drains, rubbish area all in filthy condition and this is where the food is cooked and prepared!

All of the above means only one thing – the aspirations and Food Act is unfulfilled!

Rather than hyping on stereotyping certain kinds of food, it might be useful to educate Malaysians on choosing their foods based on caloric content and reminding them of the importance of a correct food pyramid.

Food providers also do have a role in propagating good eating habits and enlightening their patrons on the nutritional content of their menu.

So I expect even the ‘Mamak shops’ notorious for the quality of their workers and food to be able to make such declarations!

More so when they exhibit the ‘Halal’ certificates so prominently while failing in pertinent areas!

Last friday – I was with the religious authorities in Selangor discussing ways to address all these issues to protect the rights and interests of consumers!

I will not hesitate to call for a nationwide boycott of all eateries that breach the fundamentals of the Food Act!

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