Hawker food industry: food safety/public health strategies in Malaysia

Fiona Pang (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Poh See Toh (University Technology Mara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The purpose of this paper is to explore the socio‐demographic factors affecting food safety knowledge/practice and the effectiveness of food safety strategies of hawkers in an urban and less urban setting of Malaysia.


A total of 50 hawkers from Kuala Lumpur and Taiping were given a questionnaire and observed in their food safety practice (FSP). In‐depth interviews were performed on four hawkers from Kuala Lumpur and Taiping.

Practical implications

Of all hawker types, Muslim/Malay hawkers, hawkers with higher educational levels, hawkers in designated sites and hawkers in an urban setting scored the highest on food safety knowledge and/or practice. This study found inadequate distribution/impracticality of regulations/guidelines for hawkers, ambiguities with licensing procedures, weaknesses in training programmes and significant complaints of designated sites by hawkers.


Ethnicity, religion, education and type of premise are socio‐demographic factors that may affect food safety knowledge/practices of hawkers. An urban/less urban setting may also affect hawkers' food safety knowledge/practice. Ineffectiveness of food safety strategies of the Control Authority may exist and may vary across different regions of Malaysia. Thus, food safety strategies must be regulated/reinforced and adapted to hawkers' socio‐demographic status, to ensure the safety of hawker foods in Malaysia.



Pang, F. and See Toh, P. (2008), "Hawker food industry: food safety/public health strategies in Malaysia", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 41-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/00346650810848007

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