NIBONG TEBAL: A fucuk (thin dried tofu sheets) processing factory near here has been ordered to close for two weeks due to its filthy environment in the food processing area.

Penang Health Department’s Food Safety and Quality Division (BKKM) environmental health officer, Mohd Wazir Khalid, said that the condition of the factory was deemed unfit to operate and it was necessary to stop all food processing work immediately.

“The condition of the fucuk factory is very filthy and worrying ... unfit to operate as the cleanliness level of the premises does not meet the hygiene and food safety standards set,” he told reporters in a press conference after ‘Ops Bersih’ conducted at the factory today.

He said that the factory was also found not to have a valid business licence and was believed to have been operating for more than 10 years. Compounds were issued amounting to RM5,500.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued a compound based on offenses including not labelling food, not registered under the MOH and operating without permission, while a notice of compound of RM500 was also issued by the Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP), which participated in this operation, for operating without a licence.

“The closure notice was issued according to Section 11 of the Food Act 1983, effective today,” he said, adding that the fucuk processing plant had previously been ordered to close operations for a similar offense about three years ago.

He said that among other offenses committed were that a factory worker, a Myanmar national, who did not receive typhoid injections, not wearing suitable equipment when handling food, and pets such as dogs roaming on the premises.

“The main reason for this closure is due to flies and cockroaches related to food poisoning, which can cause both bacterial and physical contamination. Hence, it is necessary to close it before food poisoning cases occur,” he said, adding that the fucuk product is believed to be marketed to states in the southern region. — Bernama