PUTRAJAYA: About a quarter of all food poisoning cases reported in the country last year was suspected to have come from the consumption of meals prepared in school canteens.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the School Canteen
Cleanliness awards had been conceptualised to counter cases of food
poisoning in school canteens.
“This is to recognise the school
staff, including teachers and canteen operators, who have taken the
initiative to solve the problem of food poisoning in schools,” he said
in his speech during the awards ceremony.
Subramaniam said he
hoped the competition would encourage canteen operators to practise and
maintain cleanliness and food safety.
The Health Ministry, he
added, worked closely with the Education Ministry to ensure that food
served in school canteens was clean and healthy.
“If we don’t
look after the students’ health when they are young, there will be other
problems when they are adults,” Dr Subramaniam told reporters at the
On the competition, Dr Subramaniam said the level of food
safety and cleanliness in rural and urban schools, was judged under two
different categories respectively.
The top three primary schools
from each category participated in the national level competition to
represent their respective states.
SK Taman Tun Dr Ismail (1),
Kuala Lumpur, emerged as champion in the urban category while SK Tebing
Tembah, Terengganu won the first prize in the rural category. Both
schools received RM3,000 each.
Normadiah Nadzir, who runs the
canteen in SK Taman Tun Dr Ismail (1), said she had come up with a
specific menu for the pupils.
Called the Selamat, Murah, Sihat
1Malaysia (SMS1M) menu, she prepares a range of dishes for the pupils
daily which includes at least one main dish and several varieties of
She had also ensured that the chopping boards used in
the canteen to be colour coded and those used for meat cannot be used
for other types of food.