Burger & Lobster S'pore fined S$3,000 for 132-people gastroenteritis case in 2022

Two other companies were fined for illegal import of vegetables and unlicensed operations.

Seri Mazliana | April 12, 2024, 11:13 AM



Burger & Lobster Singapore Pte Ltd was fined S$3,000 for multiple food safety lapses on Apr. 11 after 132 cases of gastroenteritis were reported in May 2022, said Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in a press release.

Five out of 132 people were hospitalised from May 7 to May 15, 2022, after dining at the restaurant's Jewel Changi Airport outlet.

Dirty oven and cracked floor tiles at Jewel Changi outlet

SFA said that multiple food safety lapses were discovered in a joint investigation by the Ministry of Health and SFA at the licensee's premises.

These include poor housekeeping, cracked kitchen floor tiles, using a dirty oven toaster, and failure to employ a food hygiene officer for the premises.

Image via SFA

SFA suspended their food business operations from May 16 to Jul. 5, 2022, in the interest of public health.

It also directed the licensee to rectify the lapses and take necessary measures to improve food safety practices and the cleanliness of its premises.

SFA reminded all food operators to ensure that their premises are clean and well-maintained and that staff are adequately trained in proper food safety management.

SFA said it will not hesitate to take firm action against anyone found to be violating the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations.

On conviction, offenders are liable to a fine not exceeding S$2,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding S$100 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction.

Two other companies fined

Two other businesses were also fined for illegally importing fresh vegetables for sale and operating an unlicensed non-retail food business in Singapore.

GH Enterprise Pte Ltd

The company was fined S$7,000 for illegally importing fresh vegetables for sale, while its director, Chua Chuan Leong, was fined S$5,000 for failing to prevent the offence from being committed.

In April 2023, SFA officers found about 1.5 tonnes of undeclared and under-declared fresh vegetables, such as spring onion and spinach, in the consignments imported from Malaysia by the importer.

Image via SFA

All illegal consignments were seized as all food imports in Singapore must meet SFA requirements.

Fruits and vegetables can only be imported by licensed importers, and every consignment must be declared and have a valid import permit.

Illegally imported vegetables are from unknown sources and can pose a food safety risk (e.g. if they are unregulated or contain a high level of pesticides).

The long-term ingestion of excessive pesticide residues through the consumption of vegetables that have been subjected to pesticide abuse could lead to adverse health effects.

Offenders who illegally import fresh fruits and vegetables shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of S$10,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.

Yan Zai Seasoning Pte Ltd

On Nov. 9, 2022, SFA found Yan Zai Seasoning Pte Ltd engaging in illegal food processing and packing at its premises at 19 Jurong Port Road, which was not licensed to conduct food processing.

Over 145 kg of dried food products were seized.

Image via SFA

Illegal processing and packing of food products at unlicensed facilities poses a food safety risk.

All food processing establishments in Singapore must be licensed and are required to meet SFA’s requirements and food safety standards.

These licensed establishments are also routinely inspected by SFA.

On conviction, offenders shall be liable to a fine not exceeding S$5,000 and a fine not exceeding S$10,000 for subsequent cases or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or both.

Members of the public who come across poor hygiene practices in food establishments are advised not to patronise them and alert SFA.

Those who come across illegal activities are encouraged to provide feedback through SFA's online feedback form or the SFA Contact Centre at 6805 2871 for follow-up investigations.

Top photos via Google Maps & Singapore Food Agency