More effective to educate hawkers to cook healthily

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has been urging people to stay away from overly salty and sweet food.

But, in a nation that eats out frequently, people have little control over the amount of salt or sugar put into the food at hawker centres and food courts. It is the cooks who control this, as a recent experience reminded me. I bought a plate of economical rice at a food court and found the dishes too salty for me to complete the plate of food.

So, instead of exhorting the public, why not focus on educating the hawkers and those who prepare food?

Taking the battle to the right parties may be the game changer and will likely be more effective in our efforts against high blood pressure and diabetes.

I find that the worse offenders are stalls with transient foreign cooks.

The HPB should mandate that these cooks and their replacements attend compulsory education so any progress will not be lost when a worker leaves.

Peh Chwee Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'More effective to educate hawkers to cook healthily'. Print Edition | Subscribe