NEA downgrades Hotpot Culture's food hygiene rating

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) has downgraded the food hygiene grade of Chinese restaurant Hotpot Culture, which made headlines last months after a rat carcass was found in one of its buffet dishes.

The Marina Square foodshop's food hygiene grade has been adjusted to "C", and will be reviewed again in 12 months.

In an advisory today, NEA said that it had lifted the suspension on the restaurant "after assessing that the premises has been adequately spruced up and measures put in place to prevent a reoccurence of the incident".

The agency added that it will continue to keep the restaurant under surveillance.

Hotpot Culture had been ordered to suspend business on Jan 9, after the NEA conducted investigations following public feedback.

Dried rat droppings had been found during NEA's inspection of the restaurant's premises, and two rats were caught during the pest control treatment carried out at the restaurant on Jan 11.

Meanwhile, The Straits Times reported that NEA will also take action against a fifth food outlet at Marina Square, after rodent droppings were found on its premises following inspections last week.

The restaurant, which NEA did not name, may be given demerit points or fined depending on its previous hygiene record.

It was previously reported that further NEA investigations had found traces of rat activity in 14 food and beverage outlets at the same shopping mall.

To win back customers, Hotpot Culture's management announced that it will hold an open house event on Feb 6 where customers can dine at the restaurant free of charge. Existing members will also receive 20 per cent discounts instead of the usual 10 per cent for the months of February and March. In addition, the restaurant is offering full refunds to customers affected by the incident on Jan 9.