Restaurant with rat remains can reopen

Restaurant with rat remains can reopen
Hotpot Culture restaurant, on the fourth floor of the Marina Square Shopping Mall, was found to have signs of rat infestation as well as structural defects that allowed rodents access into its kitchen.

The Chinese restaurant where a rat carcass was found in a vegetable dish can re-open for business - but could face a $10,000 fine and six demerit points if found to have sold food unfit for human consumption.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday that it has applied for a court summons against the licensee of Hotpot Culture Restaurants.

Located on the fourth floor of the Marina Square Shopping Mall, its operations were suspended on Jan 9 "in consideration of public health".

Investigations uncovered signs of rat infestation and structural defects - such as gaps in the false ceiling and storeroom wall - that allowed rodents access into its kitchen.

But the NEA said yesterday that its latest inspection of the restaurant found it to be clean with no signs of rat activity. As of Monday, the NEA said it had conducted seven rounds of inspections at the eatery and at least three checks at Marina Square Shopping Mall and its food outlets.

"We have assessed that the premises have been adequately spruced up and measures put in place to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident," a statement said.

The restaurant has thoroughly cleaned and sanitised its kitchen, utensils and equipment, sealed potential entry points for rats and carried out intense pest control treatment, among other measures.

Assuring the public that there will be no repeat of the incident, a spokesman said: "We hope that we would be given a chance to learn and improve from this incident, so as to serve you better."

He added that as a gesture of sincerity, the restaurant will hold an open house on Friday, "where everyone can dine at our restaurant without any charges".

Customers who dined there on Jan 9, when the incident occurred, can also get a full refund by e-mailing sales@hotpotculture.com. Marketing manager Caron Chan, 31, who discovered the rat when dining with her colleagues, was glad the authorities stepped in to prevent a repeat of the incident at Hotpot Culture and other food outlets in the mall.

"I am glad that they have taken action," she said.

"I would not mind dining at the restaurant again in the future."

audreyt@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on February 4, 2015.
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