Amid a spike in typhoid cases in Malaysia, a senior minister has advised eateries to not hire foreigners to prepare food, indirectly implying that the hired expatriate workers may not be clean.
Federal Territories Minister Adnan Tengku Mansor said he had requested the ministry’s licensing division to meet with food operators and conduct random spotchecks on cleanliness and the hiring of foreigners in the kitchen.
“I have said it before, if there are too many foreigners in the kitchen, it will bring problems,”Mansor said, adding that the foreign workers could be hired as cleaners and waiters.
Malaysia highly depends on foreign workers from countries like India, Indonesia and Bangladesh to help out in restaurants, garden maintenance firms, garbage disposal firms and construction industries.
The minister’s remarks comes after Deputy Health Minister Hilmi Yahya said illegal immigrants working as food handlers in Kuala Lumpur were being looked at as the possible cause for the rise in typhoid cases.
The disease, which is more commonly seen in rural areas, has seen a spike in the city, with 32 cases reported since August.
As it tries to zero in on the source of the spike, the Health Ministry has said it will shut down eateries that do not meet food safety and hygiene standards.
Typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and is spread by eating food or water contaminated with excreta from an infected person.