Step up hygiene at food centres

Singaporeans are not used to eating their food with their plates and bowls on trays.

In foodcourts and hawker centres, most customers take their food to their tables on trays, but then place their bowls and plates on the tables. This dirties the tables.

It is a habit that has to change.

But, the use of dirty brown trays that are usually only wiped down and seldom washed does not encourage a change in this habit.

Cleaners use a wet, dirty cloth to wipe the table tops, but never the sides of the table or the seats even if they are soiled, and hardly ever with any soap solution.

This leaves behind wet, greasy tables, which patrons have to wipe down again with tissues. These dirty tissues as well as the plastic wrappings of disposable chopsticks often litter the floor.

Rather than adopt punitive measures to improve the situation, how about a few minor changes to the cleaning practices in these food centres?

Cleaners use a wet, dirty cloth to wipe the table tops, but never the sides of the table or the seats even if they are soiled, and hardly ever with any soap solution.

This leaves behind wet, greasy tables, which patrons have to wipe down again with tissues. These dirty tissues as well as the plastic wrappings of disposable chopsticks often litter the floor.

I would suggest using brightly coloured trays, which are cleaned and dried in the dishwashing areas before being reused.

Cleaners must be trained to clean tables properly and wipe them dry.

Use of individually wrapped disposable chopsticks should be discouraged.

The tray collection areas should be in a centralised location, and must be cleared and cleaned more often.

Eating good, clean food in these centres is a distinctively Singaporean characteristic that is worth every effort to improve and preserve.

Mark T.C. Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2018, with the headline 'Step up hygiene at food centres'. Print Edition | Subscribe