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39 food poisoning cases in Sabah schools this year
Published on: Sunday, November 04, 2012
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Kota Kinabalu: A total of 39 food poisoning episodes involving 849 students have been recorded in 16 schools in Sabah up to October this year, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.She said 45 episodes involving 944 students in 21 schools were detected last year, while in 2010, 46 episodes involving 888 schoolchildren were recorded in 17 schools throughout the State.

Speaking after officiating at the Sabah Food Safety Carnival in Suria Sabah here Saturday, Rosnah said in this respect, apart from the enforcement of various laws, the Health Ministry had been monitoring and holding awareness campaign programmes to ensure all food is safe for consumption.

She said programmes such as the carnival were vital in promoting food safety and creating awareness that the Government, consumers and food industry players have a huge role to play in prevention of food poisoning.

"In the effort to strengthen our country's food safety control, a new mechanism, which is more effective, has been implemented at each level of the supply chain.

"The control involves inspection activities at each of the food chain level ranging from raw material, processing premises, distribution centres and transportation vehicles," she said, adding the Health Ministry was monitoring food being sold in domestic market and those being imported through the 1983 Food Act and 1985 Food Regulations.

She said the 1983 Food Act was formulated to protect the public from health aspects and cheating cases.

On the handling of food, the Ministry was monitoring it through the 2009 Food Hygiene Regulations which, among others, required food handlers to undergo training, medical check-up and vaccinations.

Apart from maintaining good personal hygiene, food handlers were also required to attend Food Handling Course at the Health Ministry-recognised Food Handlers Training Schools.

Rosnah said awards were being presented to the best school canteen in Sabah during the carnival as part of the efforts to promote positive attitude by the canteen operators, particularly in the food safety aspect.

The definition of a clean canteen is that it must have good surrounding features and have a record of the raw material up to preparation of food, she said.

She hoped the carnival would be able to achieve its objective of boosting the awareness level on the importance of food safety for all individuals.

"The effort needs support from all quarters in order to achieve positive and continuous attitude change and reduce food poisoning episodes, apart from enhancing competitiveness in the domestic and international level," she said.

Meanwhile, State Health Director Datuk Dr Yusof Ibrahim said the department through its Food Safety and Quality Division had taken various approaches as prevention measures.

Among them was to provide education to the target group such as schoolchildren and teachers, he said, adding that an outreach programme called the Squad Germ Buster had been successfully implemented in several primary schools in Sabah.

Food operators in school canteens had been given guidelines and advice to improve the premise cleanliness according to the requirements in the 1983 Food Act and its regulations.

Later, Rosnah presented the awards to SJKC Sin Hua Tawau, which won the best primary school canteen for urban category, followed by SJKC Tai Tong Sandakan and SK Mawar Sandakan.

For the rural primary school canteen category, the winner was SJKC Yuk Kong Keningau, followed by SK Pekan II Kudat and SK Masolok Kota Marudu in second and third place, respectively.

For the Jury Special Awards, SK Pekan II Kudat won the Canteen Operator and Canteen Teacher awards, while SJKC Tai Tong Sandakan won the Innovative Canteen and SK Ladang Binua won the Best Parent Teacher Association Involvement Award.



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