Three firms, director fined for flouting food safety rules, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Three firms, director fined for flouting food safety rules

Three companies and a director of one of them were fined on March 27 for food safety lapses, including improper thawing of meat and operating an unlicensed cold store.

One of the companies, LPH catering – whose sole proprietor is Lee Peng Hwa – was fined $12,000 following a joint investigation by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

In May 2023, MOH and SFA received reports of gastroenteritis involving 57 individuals after they consumed food prepared by LPH Catering at 4008 Depot Lane. None of them was hospitalised.

MOH and SFA investigated its premises and found multiple food lapses such as improper thawing of meat, no separation of chopping boards for raw and cooked food, as well as a dirty ice machine.

“Food safety is a joint responsibility as food can be contaminated anywhere along the food chain,” said SFA, adding that food establishments should ensure their premises are clean and well-maintained, as well as adhere to proper food hygiene and food safety requirements.

Food operators who do not adhere to food safety regulations may be fined up to $5,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, draw a further fine of up to $100 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction.

Another company, Alternative Selection – a food processing company and food retailer – was fined $6,400 for tampering with expiry date markings on pre-packed food products.

In April 2022, SFA officers inspected the premises of Alternative Selection and found various pre-packed food products had date markings that had been tampered with and extended, including those that had expired. All implicated food products were seized and disposed of.

Under the Food Regulations, no person shall remove, erase, alter, obscure, superimpose or in any way tamper with any date mark on any pre-packed food. Offenders may be fined up to $1,000 and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, draw a fine of up to $2,000.

On June 5, 2023, SFA officers inspected the premises of a third company, Go Go Foods Singapore, and found assorted meat and seafood products stored in chest freezers and chillers despite the premises not being licensed as a cold store. About 1,580kg of these products, which included beef, unagi and crab meat, was seized.

For operating an unlicensed cold store, licensed food importer Go Go Foods Singapore was fined $3,500. Its director Yatagawa Koichi was also fined $3,500 for failing to prevent the offence from being committed.

All storage facilities for meat and seafood products must be licensed and meet the SFA’s requirements and food safety standards. Storage of meat and seafood at unlicensed facilities poses a food safety risk, the agency said.

Offenders found to be possessing any meat or seafood products that have been kept in unlicensed cold stores for the purpose of selling or supplying may be fined up to $50,000, jailed for up to two years, or both. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $100,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

Those who come across poor hygiene practices in food establishments are advised not to patronise them, and instead provide feedback via with details for investigation.