Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) carried out pest control measures at Alexandra Village Food Centre, after rats were spotted there on Monday, October 2.
The agency told Channel NewsAsia, that "multiple inspections" have already been conducted after the NEA received two rat related complaints.
"NEA had conveyed our findings, which included rat droppings on top of the exhaust ducting at the food centre and a few burrows outside the food centre, to the town council for their rectification and follow-up."
The town council has since conducted pest control treatments at Alexandra Village Food Centre and plans to continue further with pest control measures. NEA is also assisting town council and Hawker's Association to ensure a "tight rat control regime" at food centres. The plan includes reviewing rat control plans, good housekeeping, removal of food sources, refuse management and adequate pest control checks.
NEA's "Food Hygiene Standards" category clearly focuses on strict methods of operations that are to be followed by restaurants, cafes, snack bars, supermarkets, mobile food wagons and food caterers.
Health and hygiene of the citizens are at the top of the priority list. NEA, therefore, grades licensed eating establishments and food stalls. After proper assessment they are given the following grades:
- A - a score of 85% or higher
- B - a score of 70% to 84%
- C - a score of 50% to 69%
- D - a score of 40% to 49%
Demerit points are given for each public health offence that is convicted at court or compounded. Offences are categorised as:
- Minor offences - 0 demerit points
- Major offences - 4 demerit points
- Serious offences - 6 demerit points
A license can be suspended for more than 2 weeks or may be revoked if it accumulates 12 or more demerit points, based on previous suspension records. The list of offences below clearly shows that a license might accumulate up to 4 demerit points, on having, animals or pests such as rodents in licensed premises. The list particularly covers offences related to the cleanliness and hygiene of food stalls.
NEA conducted its quarterly spring cleaning: a workshop for hawkers, stallholders and caterers.
"NEA will not hesitate to take enforcement action for lapses in rat control on the part of stallholders, premises owners or managing agents," it added.