Following the reveal of an appalling video capturing staff at a banana leaf rice restaurant in Bangsar washing dishes with dirty water pooled on the road, the restaurant was forced by DBKL to pull down its shutters. Not only that, the incident has also sparked a nationwide debate about the food hygiene standards of our local eateries. Subsequent reports by consumers have since resulted in at least 5 other eateries around Klang Valley being shut down.
For the longest time, many of us simply resigned to the reality of dirty eateries and turned a blind eye on hygiene negligence, perhaps because we felt that there was nothing in our power that could have been done. However with the proliferation of social media, the views of the humble consumer should not be belittled anymore.
Perhaps it is time we expand the criteria by which we deem an eatery as unhygienic. Instead of only taking note of unhygienic practises such as washing of dishes in portholes and unvaccinated foreign workers, the presence of pests that can potential harm our health is an aspect that should deserve equal attention.
It is shocking that a recent poll conducted among 40 Malaysians showed that nearly 50%, would not mind flies flying around a food stalls’ food and will continue to dine there. But did you know, that while the unwashed hand can carry 150 different species of bacteria, a recent study showed that a single fly can carry 351 types of bacteria?
Flies have been known as vectors for disease transmission and often cause cases of food-poisoning. According to World Health Organisation, house flies are suspected of transmitting at least 65 diseases to humans, including typhoid fever, dysentery and even tuberculosis. They spread these diseases to you when they land, regurgitate, or defecate on your food.
Due to its liquid based diet, food moves through their digestive systems very quickly. In fact, food moves through so quickly that it is speculated that every time a fly lands, it defecates. Also, because flies are unable to eat solid food, they regurgitate digestive juices onto solid foods to liquefy it and then drink it up. That is why you should never take a fly landing on your food lightly.
If fly faeces and vomit is still not a good enough reason for you to avoid eating that corner a fly landed on, then consider this, flies not only dine on the food we eat, they also adopt a diet of decaying meat, garbage and faeces. This means that whenever they land on your food, they bring the bacteria from their less savoury meals to your table as well.
Moreover, flies thrive in Malaysia’s hot tropical climate. The heat not only allows them to complete their life cycle faster (as quickly as 4 days under optimal temperature) but also keeps the bacteria they carry alive for longer. Either way, flies are a health threat to the Malaysian consumer and F&B owner.
If you own a food establishment and are aware of a fly infestation occuring in your business, be proactive and seek help to manage the problem before your customers raise it to the authorities. Professional services such as Rentokil’s Integrated Fly Management can be enlisted. In such a case, professionally trained technicians will intercede and administer appropriate measures to target flies at every stage of its life cycle and effectively eradicate the infestation, saving you the hassle of purchasing and applying commercial insecticides that may not be effective. Additionally, monitoring will also be done by the professionals to ensure the flies are properly eliminated, which can confer some peace of mind.
Also, it never hurts to be prepared for an infestation beforehand. In the food business, encountering flies is a given. Hence, to preserve the reputation of your business you should make use of effective insect light traps such as Rentokil’s Lumnia Range that uses the most innovative LED technology in the market to ensure fly populations at your business are kept minimal and monitored.
“When it comes to food safety standards, Rentokil has a part to play. We want to raise the level of food safety here in Malaysia because Protecting People and Enhancing Life is our mission. You and I are consumers; our friends, family and children are all consumers, and they deserve no less than safe food, free from any or all diseases” says Carol Lam, Managing Director of Rentokil Initial (M) Sdn Bhd.