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Singapore's worst food scandals

Cockroaches in curry puffs, deaths from eating rojak and nasi padang and rats in vegetables – Singaporeans love to eat and horrific food hygiene incidents over the years have caused rage, disgust and disenchantment on a mass scale.
 
Since the beginning of this year, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has already conducted about 62,000 inspections on food premises and taken enforcement action a total of 1,351 times.
 
Here are the food scandals, which rocked the nation and dominated headlines, from the most recent shoe-in-the-sink stink.

Kopitiam employee sacked for washing shoe in sink
Kopitiam employee sacked for washing shoe in sink


 
1)    Kopitiam employee caught washing shoes in the food sink (June 2015)
 
An employee at popular local foodcourt chain Kopitiam’s National University Hospital outlet was sacked on 23 June 2015 after she was caught on video washing her rubber clog shoes in the stall’s food preparation sink.
 
An irate customer had spotted the dessert stall employee in action and took a video, which quickly went viral.  Kopitiam promptly terminated the offending staff member and announced that it would be conducting an investigation into the issue.

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'Rat' found in dish at Hot Pot Culture buffet
'Rat' found in dish at Hot Pot Culture buffet


 
2)    Dead rat found in porridge vegetable dish  (Jan 2015)
 
Four diners discovered a dead rat hidden under a salted vegetable stew in local porridge buffet restaurant Hotpot Culture in Marina Square. One of them posted the photo on social media and thousands reacted in disgust.
 
The restaurant was suspended by the NEA for several weeks and the owner told Yahoo Singapore he would face a hefty fine. The restaurant underwent an overhaul and thorough cleaning and has since reopened for business, re-launching itself with a free-for-all buffet on its first day.

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Fashion stylist Kovit Ang snapped this picture of cockroaches at the chicken rice stall at 1983: A Taste of Nanyang, one of two food courts in MBS. (Photo courtesy of Kovit Ang)
Fashion stylist Kovit Ang snapped this picture of cockroaches at the chicken rice stall at 1983: A Taste of Nanyang, one of two food courts in MBS. (Photo courtesy of Kovit Ang)


 
3) Cockroaches in Marina Bay Sands foodcourt (October 2014)
 
The Marina Bay Sands branch of foodcourt chain Koufu was closed for cleaning after a photograph of cockroaches crawling around its stalls went viral.
 
The photo clearly showed five cockroaches just inches away from cooked meat at one of its stalls.
 
The photo raised ire among Singaporean patrons who pointed out that inflated prices at the upscale mall should have at least ensured better hygiene standards at its foodstalls.

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Generic photo of Nasi Padang
Generic photo of Nasi Padang


 
4)    Four-year-old boy dies after eating Nasi Padang at North Point (January 2014)
 
Four-year-old Shayne Sujith Balasubraamaniam died of food poisoning four days after eating from a Nasi Padang stall in North Point’s Kopitiam food court in 2014.
 
His death was ruled a misadventure and the NEA said it detected two hygiene lapses - failure to register a food handler and failure to protect food in a covered receptacle.
 
Its operating licence was suspended for three weeks and its employees were all sent for basic hygiene food courses.

The Fatal Attraction of this Indian Rojak
The Fatal Attraction of this Indian Rojak


 
5) Two dead, more than 40 hospitalised after Rojak poisoning (2009)
 
Two Singaporeans died and more than 40 people were hospitalised after consuming local hawker favourite rojak from a popular stall in the Geylang Serai temporary market in 2009.
 
It was and is still known as the worst case of mass food poisoning in Singapore.
 
The evidence was horrifying – the chopping board at the stall was found to have fecal matter on it, utensils used on raw seafood were not cleaned properly and used to handle cooked food. Stall assistants also handled food with their bare hands and handled cooked food without washing their hands first.
 
Rojak stall owner Sheik Allaudin Mohideen was fined the maximum of $9,000 and banned from ever running a food business again, but Yahoo understands that his sons and wife have since reopened a rojak business in the same market.
 
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