Have you ever found unwanted ingredients that could be carrying harmful bacteria in your food? Hair, flies, worms or maybe even a cockroach leg? How about going in and out of the restroom repeatedly after dinner at a nearby hawker centre?
According to statistics from the Ministry of Health Singapore, there were 6947 cases of food poisoning with three deaths in 1998. Also, in the same year, 9125 food premises were shut down for failing to fulfill the standard hygiene requirements.
In fact, the World Health Organisation has pointed out that food-borne diseases can be effectively reduced if both commercial and domestic food handlers practice correct, hygienic food practices.
Of course, all this relates back to the food poisoning cases from the Rojak Geylang Serai stall, which caused over more than 150 people to fall ill and the deaths of 2 unfortunate people. What exactly were the problems which could have caused all this damage?
The first possible problem is that some greedy hawkers value money over the quality of the food they cook, thus resulting in customers going down with food poisoning and worst, resulting in death.
One solution to this is to send AVA / NEA officers, preferably during early morning when the hawkers are still preparing to open their stalls, to make surprise checks on the freshness of the hawker’s vegetables and meat, and also how they store or pack their food up. Failing the inspection will result in a fine and being unable to open up for business for maybe a few days.
An advantage of this solution is that officers can see for themselves whether the food is fresh and not leftovers from the previous day. Also, doing it in the early morning will allow less people to eat the food made from leftover ingredients and the store will not open on that day because it does not use fresh ingredients and will in turn damage the health of its customers.
Another problem is that hawkers do not keep their stalls clean and pest-free, thus...