NEA to take Northpoint Nasi Padang stall to court over hygiene lapses after death of 4-year-old boy

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will take legal action against a Nasi Padang stall located in Northpoint Shopping Centre. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
The National Environment Agency (NEA) will take legal action against a Nasi Padang stall located in Northpoint Shopping Centre. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will take legal action against a Nasi Padang stall located in Northpoint Shopping Centre.

This comes after a four-year-old boy, Shayne Sujith Balasubraamaniam, died of food poisoning four days after he ate food from the Kopitiam food court stall in January this year.

On Thursday, State Coroner Marvin Bay ruled the boy's death a misadventure. Checks had found unsafe levels of bacteria at the Nasi Padang stall due to various hygiene lapses.

In a statement on Friday, the NEA said it was notified of the episode on Jan 24, and conducted a joint inspection together with the Health Ministry on the same day.

It suspended the stall's licence for three weeks while investigations were ongoing, and directed the operator to conduct a thorough cleaning of the stall and send all its food handlers for a Basic Food Hygiene Course.

The NEA said it detected two hygiene lapses - failure to register a food handler and failure to protect food in a covered receptacle.

Said the NEA: "These lapses contravene Regulation 33(1) of the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations. With the Coroner's Inquiry now completed, NEA will proceed to prosecute the licensee in court."

Failure to comply with the rules can lead to a fine of up to $2,000 and a further fine of up to $100 for each day the offence continues.

The NEA also reemphasised the importance of meticulous food hygiene.

"All food handlers must be registered and pass the mandatory Basic Food Hygiene Course," it said. "NEA will continue to inspect all food retail outlets regularly and take strict enforcement action against any errant food retail outlets."

It urged members of the public to call 1800-2255638 or contact it via the MyENV app if they notice any potential hygiene lapses that merit investigation.