National Environment Agency

Food Poisoning Incident Caused By Unlicensed Food Caterer

Press Release   •   Feb 15, 2011 11:33 SGT

An unlicensed food caterer, was charged in court today for preparing and supplying food that was delivered to a private function, making 38 persons  ill with diarrhoea and vomiting.

The unlicensed caterer, a Mr Liau Tiak Guan, was operating under the name of Robert Catering Services, from his residential home. On 24 December 2010, he had prepared and delivered food to an event at Kum Yan Woodlands Methodist Church at Blk 52 Woodlands Street 13.

Following notification of the food poisoning, NEA’s investigations at Mr Liau’s home found evidence of large scale food preparation activities – big woks, large frying pans, two gas cylinders and food ingredients.    Whilst our investigations was not able to ascertain the actual cause of the food poisoning, it was found that the food was delivered in disposable aluminium trays without proper temperature control equipment to keep the food out of the temperature danger zone of 5oC to 60oC. When food is kept at these temperatures, food pathogens will multiply rapidly. 

Other than bringing Mr Liau to court for preparing food at an unlicensed premises,  NEA also confiscated all his cooking paraphernalia.

NEA takes a serious view of unlicensed food caterers and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against offenders. The maximum penalty is $1,000 upon the first conviction, and $4,000 and/or imprisonment of 3 months upon the second and subsequent convictions.

The public is advised to patronise only licensed food caterers. Unlicensed food caterers are not certified and have not gone through the basic hygiene course for food handlers, and may not have knowledge of proper food hygiene practices such as preventing cross-contamination between raw and cooked food. Their premises are also not subject to the hygiene control regime in place for licensed caterers which include inspections. Unlicensed food caterers also may not have the appropriate set-up and apparatus for proper food preparation, storage and transportation, thereby increasing the risks of food poisoning among customers who eat their food. Before engaging any catering services, the public is advised to check NEA’s website for the list of licensed food caterers http://app2.nea.gov.sg/ListOfLicencees.aspx. They can also call our 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-2255 632 to verify that the caterer they are engaging is a licensed one.

~~ End ~~

For more information, please contact
 
Call Centre: 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632)
Email: Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg