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Food stalls at pasar malams also require NEA licence

The National Environment Agency (NEA) refers to Mr Ronnie Poon’s letter “Authorities should monitor food hygiene at pasar malams” (May 11).

Tony Teo, Director, Environmental Public Health Operations, National Environment Agency

The National Environment Agency (NEA) refers to Mr Ronnie Poon’s letter “Authorities should monitor food hygiene at pasar malams” (May 11).

We wish to highlight to him that anyone intending to operate an outlet where food and/or drinks are prepared for sale to the public, including a pasar malam stall, will need to apply for a licence from the NEA.

This is required under the Environmental Public Health Act to ensure cleanliness and hygienic food preparation in food retail outlets. Licensed operators have a responsibility for ensuring that food sold is safe for consumption.

Food handlers must register with the NEA and pass the mandatory Basic Food Hygiene Course. Education is key, as they are responsible for applying what they have learnt from the course and for practising good personal and food hygiene.

The NEA will continue to inspect food operators regularly, and strict action will be taken against anyone found in violation of the Act.

Last year, the NEA conducted about 148,000 inspections of food premises and took more than 2,900 enforcement actions against errant operators.

During these inspections, our officers also educated and reminded licensees and food handlers about proper food and personal hygiene practices. Licensees convicted of hygiene lapses may be liable to a fine not exceeding S$2,000 and may have their licences suspended.

Offenders caught operating a food stall without a licence shall be liable, if convicted, to a fine not exceeding S$5,000.

The NEA takes a serious view of these offences and wishes to remind our licensees to always observe good food and personal hygiene, and to engage only registered food handlers.

We advise members of the public to report any unlicensed food operators, and potential hygiene lapses that merit investigation, to the NEA via 1800-2255632 or the MyENV app.

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