Parliament briefs: Rise in poor food hygiene cases

Rise in poor food hygiene cases

More than 3,200 cases of poor food hygiene were found by the National Environment Agency at food outlets last year, an increase from about 2,500 cases in 2013.

About one-third of them occurred at stalls in foodcourts, coffee shops or canteens, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor.

The number of foodshop licences that were suspended also went up from 62 in 2013 to 132 last year.

Sixty of them involved stalls in foodcourts, coffee shops and canteens, up from 14 in 2013.

But the number of food poisoning cases has remained low since 2013, with 3.2 outbreaks a year out of every 1,000 food retail establishments.

"This suggests that the systems put in place were effective deterrents against poor food hygiene practices. Nonetheless, we cannot be complacent and must continue to maintain our strict stance on food safety," Dr Khor said.

MPA can order shipwreck removal

Parliament yesterday passed two Bills aimed at ensuring the safety of navigation in Singapore's waters and also to protect the seas from harmful marine species and pathogens, which are micro-organisms such as bacteria or viruses.

The Merchant Shipping (Wreck Removal) Bill gives the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) the power to order the removal of a shipwreck deemed a hazard and which the shipowner fails to take away.

The owner will have to pay for locating, marking and removing the wreck.

Ships also cannot enter or leave the port of Singapore unless they have evidence that they are covered by wreck-removal insurance.

Meanwhile, the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea (Amendment) Bill prohibits any ship from discharging untreated ballast water or sediments into Singapore waters.

Ballast water is usually taken on board ships to provide stability, and may contain potentially invasive alien marine species. When the water is released after a ship's voyage, this may inadvertently cause the transfer of harmful marine species and pathogens from one marine environment to another.

New body to manage cadet corps groups

The National Police Cadet Corps and the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps for students are to be managed by a new organisation.

The Home Team Corps Bill, introduced in Parliament by Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary yesterday, will establish a new Home Team Corps Council to administer both uniformed groups.

But the two groups will continue as separate, distinct co-curricular activities for students.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2017, with the headline 'Parliament Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe