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todayonline - 2 month ago

Catering firm allowed to resume operations after 5-week suspension lifted: SFA, MOH

SINGAPORE — Catering firm Taj Catering, whose licence was suspended last month when several people fell ill after eating its food, has been given the green light to resume operations after the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) lifted its suspension. In a media statement on Friday (Dec 13), the SFA and the Ministry of Health (MOH) said M/S Singapore Fast Food, which trades as Taj Catering, has implemented measures that had been stipulated by the food agency. Taj Catering had its licence suspended on Nov 7 after several hygiene lapses were detected during a joint investigation of their premises by the MOH and SFA on Nov 6. The joint investigation came about after the MOH and SFA were notified of an incident of gastroenteritis involving seven people who had consumed food from Taj Catering on Nov 2, which had resulted in one hospitalisation case, the statement said. During the joint investigation conducted at Taj Catering’s premises, the authorities detected several hygiene lapses, which included: Poor housekeeping of the premises, where rodent droppings and food scraps were found in several areas of the kitchen Improper thawing of meat Improper storage of non-food items in the dry store Knives meant for both raw and ready-to-eat food were stored together Freezers were found to be dirty and maintained at an incorrect temperature An inaccurate infrared thermometer was used to measure the temperature of chillers. As a result, the company’s operating licence was suspended by the SFA from Nov 7 to Dec 13. MEASURES TAKEN TO RECTIFY LAPSES In its media statement, the SFA and MOH said the steps Taj Catering had complied with included disposing of all of its ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items. They were also required to clean and sanitise their premises, including their equipment and utensils. Taj Catering had to also submit their plans on enhanced food safety regimes, including plans for rodent control and food process flow to ensure that their staff practise good food hygiene and proper food preparation at all times. Food handlers at the catering company involved in food preparation have also since re-attended and passed the basic food hygiene course, while its food hygiene officer has also undergone retraining and passed the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit course. CONTINUED SURVEILLANCE The SFA said that it will be taking enforcement action against Taj Catering for the lapses. The food agency added that it will continue to place the company under close surveillance to ensure that it adheres to the measures that they submitted in their plans. FOOD SAFETY HABITS In a reminder, the SFA and MOH said that members of the public are advised to seek medical attention early if they experience any gastroenteritis symptoms. Thy should also practise good personal hygiene at all times, including washing their hands with soap and water before eating and after going to the toilet, covering their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing and throwing the tissue in a bin immediately. Members of the public are also advised to not share their food and drinks, eating utensils, toothbrushes or towels with others. Those who come across poor hygiene practices in food establishments are also advised not to patronise such outlets but to contact the SFA at 6805 2871 with details that the food agency can use in follow-up investigations.

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