Make hygiene grades of food outlets more visible

Given the recent food poisoning cases, I have serious concerns now regarding the food prepared in food establishments.

There have been one too many cases and a fatality on top of that.

What is more troubling is that the cases occurred not in hawker centres, where some would say hygiene standards are usually perceived to be less stringently adhered to, but at restaurants and even a five-star hotel.

Admittedly, the hotel's investigations are still ongoing and it is too early to draw any conclusions, but Spize's lapse and indifference to food safety is extremely appalling (Spize in River Valley to shut, face charges over lapses; Dec 8).

While hawker centres have a grading for cleanliness and hygiene, do restaurants also make their grading noticeable to patrons?

I'm gratified that the National Environment Agency (NEA) has intentions to improve the hygiene grading system of hawker centres, but I hope more will be done so that customers will be able to tell the track record of hotels and restaurants as well.

I recently visited a well-known coffee chain and, thereafter, I read reports that it was fined for hygiene lapses.

Apparently, this was not the first time.

Would it help patrons, as well as keep food business owners on their toes, if NEA publishes on its website the demerit points that an establishment has accumulated?

This should be done until they have cleaned up their act and maintained a good record for a period of time, following which, they can be taken off the site.

It is never too late to start new measures that will help improve our food safety standards.

Lee Lay Heng (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Make hygiene grades of food outlets more visible'. Print Edition | Subscribe