Make Sanitary Shields or Face Masks Mandatory for All Food Handlers!

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This petition is to appeal to the National Environment Agency backed by support from the Ministry of Health to consider making it mandatory for all food handlers to wear Sanitary Shields, Face Masks or any other devices that can reduce possible infection spread.



How many times have we seen a food handler at a cafe counter or a waiter talking into your food without wearing any sanitary masks to curb their saliva droplets from spreading into the food they are serving you or others? Or worst still, talking away with other food vendors behind the food stall counter while handling your plate of food before serving it to you? With an indifferent gaze, they unknowingly spread not only bacteria but possibly a disease without even knowing about it if they happen to be at the asymptomatic phase of a potential viral infection.

Just the mere fact that it is unhygienic given the rate of transmission of diseases like the recent COVID-19, F&B operators have not sized up to the fact that just washing hands and/or wearing gloves is not enough anymore, that they should really watch the training and operational equipment issued out to their staff when handling food.

Just the other day, I watched as the handler at the food counter of one of Singapore’s cafes constantly touching his nose, talking down at all the dishes of ingredients placed in front of him on his side of the counter. And asking me questions to confirm the various ingredients to form the full dish that I ordered.

Sneeze panels have been erected to curb the customer’s saliva droplets from hitting the food ingredients but there is no sneeze panel to curb that of the food handler on his side of the counter! Why is that? And there is displeasure or surprise usually seen on the food handler's face when asked why his company had not taken better hygiene practices up a notch.

F&B operators need to practice a much higher level of hygiene not only with hand washing and gloves but also curb sneezing and saliva droplets from being discharged from food handlers. Some restaurants and cafes have already adopted the practice of sanitary guard or face mask wearing as part of their responsibility to the public but the majority of them have not.

Sanitary Shields or Face Masks should be used to curb transmission of COVID-19, flu and other diseases spread by saliva and nasal mucus droplets.

See what Environment reporter Audrey Tan says when she checked with the National Environment Agency for an answer. But is that enough? Other Asian countries are already practicing better hygiene methods of wearing masks and Humidity should not be an issue as most of our food courts have gone into air-conditioned malls, albeit the naturally ventilated hawker centres which by virtue of their being naturally ventilated helps alleviate the spread of viruses.

Join us and others in this petition to appeal to the National Environment Agency backed by support from the Ministry of Health to consider making it mandatory for all food handlers to wear Sanitary Shields, Face Masks or any other devices that can help to reduce possible infection during food handling.

We want the Ministries to take our hygiene practise levels much higher, that all public food handlers, whether at the café counter, food court, hawker centre, restaurant kitchen, waiters serving up a buffet, cooking a meal for the public, should wear at least Sanitary Shields or Face Masks at all times, whether with the covid-19 pandemic or not.

Thank you for your effort and support in making Singapore a safer and healthier place for everyone.

Raymond Lee & Juliet Derdyuk    Contact the author of the petition

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