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Patrons of Toa Payoh coffee shop unfazed, as town is embroiled in second viral rat video

SINGAPORE — Patrons at food establishments in Toa Payoh appear unfazed by two separate incidents of rodents spotted at eateries in the town just one week apart from each other, saying they are not afraid of eating there.

Patrons of Toa Payoh coffee shop unfazed, as town is embroiled in second viral rat video

A screenshot of a video showing a live rat in a basket full of raw poultry. The video went viral on April 3, 2019.

SINGAPORE — Patrons at food establishments in Toa Payoh appear unfazed by two separate incidents of rodents spotted at eateries in the town just one week apart from each other, saying they are not afraid of eating there.

A video of a rat inside a basket full of raw chickens, allegedly found outside a coffee shop at Block 95 Lorong 4, made its rounds on Facebook on Wednesday (April 3).

The viral video shows the poultry placed in open plastic bags in an exposed basket left on the floor, outside the shutters of the coffee shop.

A spokesperson for the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said it is investigating the incident.

The spokesperson said food operators must ensure that food hygiene standards, which include proper storage of raw ingredients, are adhered to. To prevent pests from entering the premises, food operators should store food in covered containers or properly sealed packages, among other things.

The chicken rice stall that had placed orders for the poultry was closed when TODAY visited the coffee shop on Thursday.

A man who called himself Mr Ah De and who runs a bak kut teh business in a shared space with the chicken rice stall, said in Mandarin: “The chicken supplier usually covers the basket of chickens with an extra basket because of the rats. I’m not sure if they sent a new guy to deliver the chickens and left them exposed that day.” 

The chicken rice stall has been closed since Wednesday when the authorities came to inspect it, he added.

Despite the incident, patrons of the coffee shop said that it would not stop them from eating there.

“The Government has regular inspections,” said Mr Ng Chee Keong, 42, who frequents the coffee shop as he works nearby.

Mr Alan, 37, who did not give his full name, said at first that he was “disgusted” when he saw the video, but he would still continue to eat at the coffee shop. "I don’t see why there should be a problem,” he added, noting that the incident took place outside the shop’s premises.

Mr Ng Ah Seng, 57, who owns a trading store across from the coffee shop, said: “There are rats everywhere, not just in Toa Payoh. It’s normal.”

“This case happened outside the coffee shop, I’m more concerned about the rat that was found in the other Toa Payoh shop,” Mr Ng added.

SECOND INCIDENT IN A WEEK

Last Wednesday, an earlier video which showed a rat scurrying across trays on a countertop of a 24-hour open-air eatery, Lee Kwang Kee Teochew Cuisine, surfaced on Facebook.

The owner of the eatery on Toa Payoh Lorong 8, who identified himself only as Mr Lee, told TODAY on Thursday that they are assisting the authorities who have been inspecting the premises daily since the incident.

An employee at the restaurant, who wanted to be known only as Mr Liu, also said that staff members have “thoroughly cleaned” the entire eatery and showed pictures of the cleaning process.

“This has never happened before,” Mr Liu added, pointing out that the restaurant has numerous mouse traps and engages pest control services regularly.

Mr Zhou, 81, who owns a watch shop nearby, said that rats are a common sight in the area, especially since there is a rubbish collection point near the restaurant.

“It’s common to see rats once in a while, especially at night. And there’s nothing (the restaurant) can do about it since they come from outside,” he added.

A food stall owner at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Hawker Centre, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “They weren’t vigilant enough. As hawkers, we just have to chase rats away when we see them and make sure to cover our food.

“Social media is the problem. We see rats all the time, especially back in my day. Now, young people freak out when they see one rat.”

TODAY has reached out to the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council for comments.

Related topics

food rats raw chicken Toa Payoh Singapore Food Agency SFA coffee shop viral video Facebook Block 95 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Lee Kwang Kee Teochew Cuisine tray social media

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