SEREMBAN: Retailers and traditional coffee shop proprietors can continue to refrigerate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and other food in the same fridge but from December next year, they have to be displayed on separate racks or compartments.
The ruling also covers other establishments selling these beverages.
Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors General Association president Ho Su Mong said there had been some confusion over the directive resulting in anxiety among some of its 20,000 members.
“We wrote to the Health Ministry after news went around that we will soon have to buy separate refrigerators to store alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
“We are thankful to the ministry for promptly clarifying the matter,” he said.
In a letter to the association, the ministry’s Food Safety and Quality division senior director Noraini Mohd Othman said under amendments to Regulation 361(5) of the Food Regulations 1985, it would be compulsory for sellers to separate alcoholic drinks from other food.
She said from Dec 1, 2017, alcoholic drinks and food displayed in the open should also be displayed or kept in separate cabinets or racks.
However, alcoholic drinks and food can be kept in the same refrigerator provided they were displayed on different racks or trays.
Noraini said the stakeholders, including the alcoholic beverage industry, had agreed to this during a meeting on June 15 last year when a draft of the amendments was discussed.
Ho said traditional coffee shop proprietors would be financially burdened under such a ruling as they would also have to bear higher electricity costs.
“We want to end the confusion over this ruling and want our members to know they can continue to display alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and other food on the same tray or in the same compartment in a refrigerator for now,” he said.