NEA increases inspections at eateries, caterers

NEA increases inspections at eateries, caterers

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has stepped up checks on restaurants and caterers to minimise the risk of food poisoning incidents over Chinese New Year.

The number of inspections over this festive season - which includes Christmas, New Year and the lead-up to Chinese New Year - has increased by 27 per cent, compared to the same period in 2012.

The NEA has also issued advisories to event organisers, and a spokesman said: "Other than the usual checks, our officers keep a lookout for any instances of poor food and personal hygiene that may result from operators ramping up their production to cope with the increase in business volume and orders."

This includes cross contamination between raw and ready-to-eat food and poor personal hygiene practices of food handlers.

The NEA found 2,198 hygiene lapses last year, a 25 per cent drop from 2012, when there were 2,947 such cases. The more common offences were a failure to keep premises clean and free from pest infestation, and a failure to register food handlers.

Separately, officers from Spring Singapore last week tested the accuracy of weighing scales and measuring instruments used at Chinatown stores - including those used at the festive street bazaar.

Spring, the government agency regulating weights and measures, will conduct more frequent spot checks this year with the help of security company Certis Cisco. A Spring spokesman said it wanted to "enhance the overall safety and credibility of consumer goods in Singapore".

The authority aims to conduct 8,000 spot checks on weighing scales and measuring instruments this year, an increase from 3,000 last year.

Traders who use non-verified weighing or measuring equipment can be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to three months, or both.

Spring also hopes to increase the number of spot checks on controlled goods, from 260 to 800 retailers annually.

Those found selling controlled goods that do not bear the safety mark can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to two years, or both.

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