Diner claims rat disrupted meal at new Punggol mall

Facebook post of rodent falling from Waterway Point eatery's ceiling prompts NEA probe

Ms Lim's post of her encounter last Wednesday has been shared on Facebook more than 100 times.
Ms Lim's post of her encounter last Wednesday has been shared on Facebook more than 100 times. PHOTO: RITA LIM/FACEBOOK

A diner's complaint about a rat that had fallen from the ceiling above her at a new shopping centre in Punggol has sparked an investigation by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Ms Rita Lim wrote on Facebook that she screamed when the rat landed on her seat at The Coffee House in Waterway Point mall last Wednesday evening.

Other customers, however, carried on eating, she added.

Ms Lim had been waiting for her meal when the incident allegedly occurred, though she did not say whether she stayed to eat her meal.

In her post, which has been shared more than 100 times, she said: "A rat dropped from the ceiling onto my seat and ran across me to the kitchen!"

The NEA told The Straits Times it is investigating the incident at the mall, which opened in January. It added: "We will take the necessary enforcement actions against any parties found responsible for the rat infestation."

The manager of the eatery, who gave his name only as Mr Koh, said the NEA was "satisfied with its hygiene standards" when it visited the following day. Mr Koh said a waiter had witnessed the incident and said the "small animal" might not have been a rodent. It also did not run into the kitchen.

A spokesman for Frasers Centrepoint Malls said the management of Waterway Point had taken measures against pests before the opening of the mall. It had also asked food and beverage outlets to put in place pest control measures and pay attention to housekeeping.

"As an added measure, nightly pest control checks are done in view of the proximity of the construction site. Any positive indication of any rodent activity will be followed up with immediate extermination," said the spokesman.

The mall has also taken immediate action following feedback, including the sealing of any holes along the mall's perimeter and placing rat poison where necessary.

About 6,700 complaints related to rats were received by the NEA last year, up from around 4,000 in 2014. The number of food outlet inspections also rose from around 140,000 in 2014 to about 148,000 last year, while enforcement actions were taken against more than 190 owners, up from 80.

The NEA said last month it plans to boost efforts to treat detected rat burrows, including those under the responsibility of other agencies.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2016, with the headline Diner claims rat disrupted meal at new Punggol mall. Subscribe