THE recent nationwide crackdown on dirty restaurants
and eateries should also be extended to school canteens and college
The Education Ministry and Health Ministry, apart from ensuring that
healthy and nutritious food is served to school children, should also
ensure that school canteen food is clean and hygienic.
A visit to some school canteens just before recess time would give a
clear picture of the lackadaisical attitude of some canteen operators in
preparing and handling food in the kitchen, as well as serving and
laying out food for the students.
Most school canteens serve prepared food that would be dished out in
plates and laid on a table before recess. A large plastic sheet is often
used to cover the plates. This is done to prevent the food from being
exposed to flies and dust.
Come recess time, the plastic sheet is removed and the food is then sold.
The following day the same plastic sheet is used again to cover the
food. How many school canteens actually wash the plastic sheet to ensure
the cleanliness of it?
Houseflies are a common sight in some school canteens. It is common
to see flies in large numbers on the floor, on table tops or on the
plastic sheets that are used to cover the food. Flies can cause food
contamination, which in turn triggers cholera, dysentery and food
Canteen operators have to ensure that their workers who are
responsible in the handling and preparation of food don proper clean
attire such as aprons and gloves. The floor must be swept and mopped to
ensure that flies and other household pests are kept at bay.
Cats must not be allowed in school canteens. It is common to see cats
in some school canteens licking off food from plates left by the
children. Tables and chairs must be wiped and be kept stained free.
Utensils such as plates and glasses must be washed thoroughly with
detergent and disinfected in hot water to remove stubborn stains.
All these calls for proper enforcement by the school authorities. It
is pertinent that the school forms a select committee to oversee the
school canteen's cleanliness.
The committee need to check the canteen daily and ensure that every
aspect of the food preparation process adheres to the strict guidelines