The Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said in Parliament on Monday that the NEA takes lapses in hygiene at food stalls “very seriously”. He indicated that they take strict enforcement actions against operators found to have bad hygiene.
Dr Balakrishnan had said this in response to questions about the 4 year old boy who died after eating tainted food from a food stall in Yishun.
Dr Balakrishnan explained that NEA was alerted to the incident on Jan 24 2014 and it conducted an inspection of the premise in conjunction with the Ministry of Health that same day.
The stall’s license was also suspended on that day after two hygiene lapses were detected.
NEA had noted that the food stall had failed to cover one of its food containers and it also hired an unlicensed food handler.
Dr Balakrishnan explained that following the discovery, all the staff were sent for food hygiene courses.
NEA then lifted the suspension of the stall when they conducted a second inspection and found that the stall was clean.
Dr Balakrishnan said that the incident was a “tragic incident” and it was also a good reminder on the importance for all food stalls to practice proper hygiene.
He also noted that there has not been any other fatalities due to food poisoning reported at any of the 35,000 other NEA licensed food stalls since 2010.