NEA suspends licence of Prata Wala at Serangoon NEX over cockroach infestations; eatery says no trace of pest now

Eatery Prata Wala at shopping centre NEX will have its licence suspended for two weeks for failing to keep its premises free of cockroach infestations.
Eatery Prata Wala at shopping centre NEX will have its licence suspended for two weeks for failing to keep its premises free of cockroach infestations. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Eatery Prata Wala at shopping centre NEX will have its licence suspended for two weeks for failing to keep its premises free of cockroach infestations.
Eatery Prata Wala at shopping centre NEX will have its licence suspended for two weeks for failing to keep its premises free of cockroach infestations. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Eatery Prata Wala at shopping centre NEX will have its licence suspended for two weeks for failing to keep its premises free of cockroach infestations.
Eatery Prata Wala at shopping centre NEX will have its licence suspended for two weeks for failing to keep its premises free of cockroach infestations. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Eatery Prata Wala at shopping centre NEX will have its licence suspended for two weeks for failing to keep its premises free of cockroach infestations.

The problem was first discovered in October last year and again in March this year.

The suspension will take effect from June 21 to July 4.

The suspension comes under a points demerit system, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a notice on its website. The shop had accumulated 12 demerit points over the last 12 months - six for each count of not keeping its premises cockroach-free. It has been fined $800.

Prata Wala, which started operations about six years ago, has five outlets at Jurong Point, Tampines Mall, NEX, Junction 8 and Bedok Mall, according to its website.

Subsequent checks by NEA showed there have been no traces of the pest since April, said Mr Joseph Lee, director of First Gourmet, which manages Prata Wala.

The company has replaced its operations manager and manager in charge of the outlet at NEX. It also engaged a new pest control contractor.

In addition, it increased the frequency of its contractor's visits from once a month to six times a month at its peak, until the situation was under control.

"We fully acknowledge and apologise for this," said Mr Lee.

Prata Wala had earlier appealed to NEA to delay its suspension to avoid the busy period, on grounds that the problem has been resolved.

"We accept our penalties, and we're looking past this to improve ourselves," Mr Lee added.

Another three food stalls at Block 477, Tampines Street 43, will also be suspended for two weeks, from June 18 to July 1. They received demerit points partly because they failed to keep their premises free of cockroach infestations.

Depending on past records, a licensee who has 12 or more demerit points over a year may have his licence suspended for either two or four weeks, or revoked.

All food handlers working in the suspended premises must also attend and pass a basic food hygiene course again before they may resume work as food handlers.

"NEA takes a serious view of these offences and would like to remind food operators to observe good food and personal hygiene practices at all times, and to engage only registered food handlers," it said.

"NEA will not hesitate to take firm action against anyone found to be in violation of the Environmental Public Health Act."

Members of the public who come across poor hygiene practices in food establishments may call the 24-hour NEA Contact Centre at 1800 - 2255632.