A food poisoning victim showing the 'puding buih' that she purchased online from a home-based food seller. — Bernama
Home-based online food businesses that offer delivery services in Malaysia will soon be required to register with the Food Safety and Quality Division under the Ministry of Health (MOH).
"We are preparing a holistic exercise for the home-based industry that will cover regulations, registrations and special guidelines for home-based delivery," said the division's senior director Mohd Salim Hj Dulatti.
Mohd Salim added that the division is working towards regulating such home-based online food businesses so they can comply with official guidelines on food safety. Details about the regulations will be revealed by the Health Ministry on a later date.
LifestyleTech contacted to the Food Safety and Quality Division to inquire about guidelines and regulations for home-based online food businesses in Malaysia in light of the recent death of a 25-year-old woman in Terengganu who suffered from severe food poisoning after consuming 'puding buih' purchased online.
State Local Government, Housing, Health and Environment Committee chairman Dr Alias Razak stated that investigations revealed the 'puding buih' seller involved had produced the food item using eggs which were two weeks past their expiration date.
"Action has been taken by the Terengganu Health Department to close the kitchen of the puding buih business for 14 days (until June 7) under the Section 18 (1) of the Infectious Disease Act 1988," he said in a Bernama report.
Previously, it was reported that 99 individuals had sought medical treatment for food poisoning symptoms like vomiting and fever, with some being admitted to hospital, after consuming the 'puding buih' which was purchased online on May 22.
Due to the movement control order (MCO) in Malaysia, more food businesses have switched to online delivery-based methods to reach out to customers. Alias in the Bernama report said there is a need to introduce a standard operating procedure for small businesses such as home-based food sellers to avoid further food poisoning cases.
"Most of them don't have operating licenses, they are just cooking at home and promoting their products online and we don't know what is the level of safety and hygiene that they are practicing," he added.
MOH's Food Safety and Quality Division had previously released safety guidelines for food items sold online during the MCO period on April 22. Under the section for home-based delivery, the guidelines stipulate that food sellers have to get their supply of raw materials daily if there is no suitable storage facility.
The Division has also released a guideline on how to carefully select and prepare eggs for consumption on its Facebook page.