SINGAPORE - A food court employee caught on camera using a fruit knife to scrape dead skin off her hand has been sacked.
Personal assistant Renny had filmed the incident while having lunch with her family at the Kopitiam food court in Sembawang's Sun Plaza on Monday (July 27).
"I saw this disturbing scene of a woman working at the mixed vegetable rice stall - she was removing the dead skin cells from her hand with what looked like a knife used for food," Renny, who is in her 30s, told The Straits Times after first alerting netizen website Stomp.
"This is so terrible and unhygienic."
She claimed that the woman wiped the knife with a receipt instead of washing it, before putting it below the cash register.
A spokesman from Kopitiam, which operates more than 50 food courts in Singapore, said it had issued a warning letter to the stall's tenant.
The tenant then dismissed the employee on Monday night.
After conducting its investigations, Kopitiam clarified that the knife in question was for the staff's personal use. It was not used to prepare any food at the stall.
"Nevertheless, her behaviour was unacceptable and not in line with the high standards of hygiene Kopitiam sets at all its food outlets," said the spokesman.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement that it was following up with Renny to gather more facts about what happened. "NEA takes a serious view of poor hygiene practices by food handlers and will follow up with necessary enforcement action for hygiene malpractices," it added.
Monday's incident was the second in a little over a month involving the food court operator. A video of one of its employees washing her shoes in a sink at its National University Hospital outlet went viral late last month.
The female employee was later sacked by Kopitiam, which runs the desserts and drink stalls at all its food courts. All other food stalls are leased to tenants.
NEA also said then that it would be taking action against Kopitiam for the "flagrant breach of hygiene that could have resulted in contamination of food and untensils".
Kopitiam has assured customers that it conducts weekly inspections of all its outlets to ensure that staff and tenants abide by a stringent set of hygiene standards.
"While we are definitely concerned, both cases were isolated ones that happened due to personal lapses, rather than a lapse in our system," added the spokesman.