KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has set a number of conditions in allowing food operators to use newspaper in preparing and wrapping food.
It takes note that there are still food operators who use newspaper in a way that it comes into direct contact with the food ready for eating, when wrapping or covering it, or to absorb excess oil from it.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said among the conditions set was that newspaper was only allowed to be used as the second layer to wrap ready-to-eat food and not in direct contact with the food.
"The wrapping material like plastic sheet or banana leaf should be used as the first layer for wrapping food as it will protect the food from coming into direct contact with the newspaper used for wrapping," he said in a statement, here, today.
He said newspaper as the second layer in wrapping food should also be handled in such a way to prevent the printing ink from contaminating the food.
For example, contamination can occur when the food handler's hands had earlier touched the newspaper and then the food," he added.
Dr Noor Hisham said newspaper should also not be used to cover food or to absorb excess oil from fried food, to avoid direct contact with the food.
He said all these matters came under Regulation 35 of the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009, whereby a food handler should handle food and use the utensils and food containers in such a way without directly touching them or do anything which could contaminate the food.
"Food operators should also ensure that the material used to wrap foood is not toxic and strong enough to avoid tear and leakage.
"Failure to adhere to this ruling is an offence and can be penalised with a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or jailed for up to two years," he said.
Complaints against errant foor operators or handlers can be made to the ministry through the State Health Department or nearest District Health Office, or the ministry's Food Quality and Safety Division via http://fsq.moh.gov.my or www.facebook.com/bkkmhq.