NEA to act against Hougang Mall, NTUC FairPrice over rats

The rat problem came to light after Facebook user Sun Yu Ming uploaded photos and a video of a rat in the FairPrice outlet at Kang Kar Mall on Monday and Tuesday. The minute-long video shows a rat scurrying out towards the vegetable section.
The rat problem came to light after Facebook user Sun Yu Ming uploaded photos and a video of a rat in the FairPrice outlet at Kang Kar Mall on Monday and Tuesday. The minute-long video shows a rat scurrying out towards the vegetable section.PHOTO: SUN YU MING'S FACEBOOK

FairPrice also faces action; new burrows found in area under charge of Hougang Mall management

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will be taking action against the management of Hougang Mall and supermarket operator NTUC FairPrice Cooperative after finding rat activity on their premises.

NEA conducted an inspection on Wednesday, acting on a recent video posted online that showed a rat in the FairPrice outlet at Kang Kar Mall, which is next to Hougang Mall in Hougang Avenue 10.

NEA said it had detected a total of five new burrows in the external area under Hougang Mall management and would be taking enforcement against the mall and supermarket operator.

NEA did not say what action it would take.

 

According to its website, food retail establishments face a fine of up to $2,000 and demerit points, and mall managements face a fine of up to $5,000 for pest infestations.

An inspection of the FairPrice outlet in Kang Kar Mall also revealed signs of rat activity, such as rat droppings, an NEA spokesman added.

The rat problem in the area came to light after Facebook user Sun Yu Ming uploaded photos and a video of a rat in the supermarket on Monday and Tuesday.

The minute-long video shows Mr Sun pulling out loaves of bread from a shelf as a rat scurries out towards the vegetable section.

He also posted photos showing gnawed bread packaging.

"NEA is requiring NTUC (FairPrice) and both mall managements to step up their rat control measures," a spokesman said.

A FairPrice spokesman on Wednesday said that the rat in the video had been caught, and that their contracted pest control specialists had visited the store five times last month alone.

She also said the store has disposed of all products that may have been compromised by rats and sanitised the area thoroughly.

Yesterday, the NEA also met the relevant stakeholders to advise them on proper refuse management and how to deny rats access to areas of food storage to reduce the rat population, she added.

Before this, NEA had received five cases of feedback on rat activity in Kang Kar Mall, from the beginning of the year.

The NEA had investigated each complaint and carried out inspections, but did not detect any signs of rat activity on the premises, the spokesman said.

During a routine inspection of the external area between Kang Kar Mall and Hougang Mall two weeks ago, however, NEA detected two burrows in the area under the charge of the Hougang Mall management.

NEA had informed the mall management of these findings and the burrows have since been treated.

Yesterday, however, the new burrows were discovered.

"Consistent and sustained efforts by all parties are needed to ensure rat infestation in an area is tackled holistically. NEA will be working closely with all the stakeholders to address the issue," the spokesman said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'NEA to act against mall over rats'. Print Edition | Subscribe