PETALING JAYA: Food cleanliness is an integral part of food safety as a whole. And concern arises when consumers look to save money by obtaining both raw or prepared meals without considering the cleanliness of the food source.

This can lead to food poisoning, with an expert saying that if left untreated, may also turn fatal.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia health economics, hospital and health management expert Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh said apart from food poisoning, eating food from questionable sources could result in a person contracting cholera, salmonella or even typhoid which can cause dehydration due to profuse vomiting or diarrhoea.

“This is concerning for young children or the elderly who contract such ailments. Severe cases can turn fatal,” she said.

Dr Sharifa said people should check whether vendors were abiding with set guidelines by wearing caps, aprons and gloves when handling food, adding that these benchmarks could also be used by consumers when purchasing food.

“Although it can be more expensive when eating or purchasing food, at least it gives you some peace of mind knowing that your food is clean,” she said.

Personal trainer Edward Jiun Jr, 28, said he initially did not pay much attention towards the cleanliness of his groceries up until he found a worm in his broccoli.

“I rinsed the vegetable lightly and steamed it but then found a worm during the process.

“Since then, I thoroughly wash meats and vegetables to avoid any further ‘surprises’,” he said.

Emilly, 26, a graduate, said her family practised strict food hygiene.

“We wash the meat with salt, lime and sometimes vinegar to ensure it is thoroughly cleaned for cooking.

“The fresh vegetables meanwhile are soaked in salt and rinsed twice before being cooked,” she said.

Yesterday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said his ministry was looking into the need to upgrade the Food Safety and Quality Division (BKKM) as the Food Safety Authority.

This was a medium-term plan which was in line with the rapid development of technology and future needs of food safety and quality. The proposal was also part of the study on the amendments to the Food Act 1983.

“We need to review the existing legal structure from time to time to ensure it is in line with the current needs,” he after launching the 2022 National World Food Safety Day.