A fu chok (thin dried tofu sheets) processing factory in Nibong Tebal, Penang has been ordered to close immediately for two weeks after food safety officers found it in disgusting condition
According to Bernama, Penang Health Department's Food Safety and Quality Division (FSQD) environmental health officer Mohd Wazir Khalid said that the condition in the factory was so filthy, it was deemed unfit to operate.
All food processing work had to be stopped immediately.
"The condition of the fu chok factory was very filthy and worrying," Mohd Wazir said
"The main reason for this closure is that we found a lot of rat droppings. There were also flies and cockroaches," he told a press conference after an 'Ops Bersih' raid conducted at the factory on Wednesday, 27 October.
"All of this can cause both bacterial and physical contamination leading to food poisoning. Hence, it is necessary to close it before food poisoning cases occur," he said.
He added that the fu chok products are believed to be sold to states in the Southern region.
The officer said among other offences committed by the factory was that a worker, a Myanmar national, did not receive the typhoid injections required to handle food, nor was the worker wearing suitable equipment when preparing the tofu sheets.
The factory was also found not to have a valid business licence despite being in operation for over 10 years.
Mohd Wazir said compounds amounting to RM5,500 were issued
The officers issued the compound under the Ministry of Health (MOH) for offences such as lack of labelling, not being registered under the ministry, and for operating without permission.
The Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) also issued a RM500 compound to the factory for operating without a licence.
"The closure notice was issued according to Section 11 of the Food Act 1983, effective today," the officer said, adding that the fu chok factory had previously been ordered to shut down for similar offences about three years ago.
"In the first raid, the owner gave an excuse and promised to stop operating, but it is here to this day and still without a licence," Mohd Wazir added, according to Berita Harian.
"Based on our observations, this factory is 200% dirty and should not exist."