Caterer fined $5,000, licence suspended over cockroach infestation and other lapses

AG (Global) Events Catering's premises on 19 June, 2019. (PHOTOS: SFA)

SINGAPORE — A catering company was on Tuesday (16 October) fined $5,000 for “several lapses” at its premises, including cockroach and housefly infestations, after having its operating licence suspended for almost a month.

AG (Global) Events Catering had its operating licence suspended by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) a day after a routine inspection of its premises on 19 June uncovered several lapses, according to the agency’s press release.

The suspension lasted 27 days from 20 June to 16 July and was lifted after AG had rectified the lapses and taken measures to improve the cleanliness of its premises, added the SFA.

These lapses include the improper thawing of raw meat, the contamination of uncovered cooked food by condensate from unclean ceiling, and improper storage of uncovered raw ingredients on the floor.

Dirty wall tiles and structural damages of the floor were also observed on the premises as well as water leakage resulting from the poor maintenance of a chiller system, said the SFA.

“In the interest of public health, all finished food products, semi-processed food items and raw ingredients were disposed immediately,” the agency added.

According to its website, the company, established in 2011, has served “excellent quality catering food to hotels, government statutory boards, private companies and home parties”.

The SFA said, “Food safety is a joint responsibility as food can be contaminated anywhere along the food chain. While SFA continues to be vigilant and works to ensure that regulatory measures are in place and properly enforced, the industry and consumers must also play their part.”

The agency also urged members of the public who come across poor hygiene practices in food establishments to avoid patronising them as well as provide online feedback or call their contact centre at 6805 2871 with details for follow-up investigations.

If found guilty, operators who do not comply with food hygiene and food safety requirements can be fined up to $5,000, with the fine increasing up to $100 every day if they continue violating these requirements after conviction.

Recent food poisoning cases

The fine comes after a recent spate of food poisoning incidents involving catering companies.

Last month, Mum's Kitchen Catering and Cherish Delights had their licences suspended after 39 people fell ill with gastroenteritis after consuming their food in separate incidents.

In July, Stamford Catering had its food hygiene grade downgraded from A to C after 52 people fell ill with food poisoning. In the month before, Chilli Api Catering, Pro*3 Institutional Catering and Delizio Catering similarly had their food hygiene grades downgraded.

In March, a gastroenteritis outbreak affected 13 PCF Sparkletots pre-schools and P.L.A.N Student Care Centre, with 257 cases reported.

The source of food poisoning was traced to the consumption of food prepared at Kate's Catering, and its operating licence was suspended for 52 days before the suspension was lifted on 17 May.

In December last year, the River Valley branch of Asian fusion restaurant Spize had its licence terminated, after a mass food-poisoning incident in November which left one dead.

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