Dishes at hawker centres must be washed more thoroughly

The way dirty dishes and bowls are collected and then dumped in plastic containers filled with soapy water hours before they are washed and reused is an unhygienic practice, as scraps of food are a source of bacteria, and dirty water encourages the rapid multiplication of bacteria.

This is a potential source of contamination at hawker centres ("Pek Kio food centre ordered to close"; May 25).

The above problem is further aggravated by haphazard washing. If dishes are not thoroughly washed and rinsed, dirty water inside the dishes that comes into contact with food will contaminate it.

To make matters worse, many hawkers are either too busy or not bothered to dry the dishes and bowls with dry, clean towels.

Hawkers are also not replacing their badly worn melamine plates and bowls, and continue to use them even though they are badly worn and discoloured, and the insides look a gritty bronze.

Whereas new melamine is smooth and less likely to harbour bacteria, a worn, gritty surface encourages bacteria growth. Chipped plates and bowls should be discarded.

Many of us are guilty of treating the bowls like trash containers, and we throw soiled tissue paper used to wipe the table, or even containing our mucus, into these bowls.

Cleaners should be educated not to sweep food scraps into the bowls prior to throwing them into the bin.

Cleaners should be supplied with small dustpans for that purpose, instead of using the dishes and bowls.

Tim Tio