Address hygiene issue of food donations

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor (left) visiting the sustainability area at Compass One with the mall’s centre general manager Sharon Tan on April 15, 2019.
Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor (left) visiting the sustainability area at Compass One with the mall’s centre general manager Sharon Tan on April 15, 2019.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

The partnership between Food Bank Singapore and Compass One mall to supply social institutions with unsold food items is a worthy cause (Compass One is first mall to donate unsold cooked food to Food Bank, April 16).

This collaborative initiative, if properly administered, serves two key purposes: to reduce food waste and benefit people who are suffering from hunger.

However, it is important not to ignore the hygiene aspect of the collaboration, especially from the time the food is collected to when it reaches beneficiaries.

Also, there are people, especially the elderly, who may be more sensitive to certain foods, such as those that are fried, raw or spicy.

While more food court operators are encouraged to emulate this commendable effort, there are some who remain sceptical about doing the same.

However, they cannot be blamed for being non-committal as there is an element of risk.

What if there are incidents of food turning stale or, worse, gastroenteritis, which may arise from their food donation?

In such instances, it would be difficult to detect if the cause was improper food preparation or poor handling during delivery rounds.

It is, thus, important to get the perspectives of all stakeholders on the issue.

I am sure that more food operators would participate in such a creditable cause if the issue of food hygiene is addressed.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'Address hygiene issue of food donations'. Print Edition | Subscribe