Suspension of Pow Sing eateries over food poisoning cases lifted

Pow Sing Restaurant and nearby Pow Sing Kitchen were closed in July due to food poisoning incidents. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Chicken rice seller Pow Sing, whose two operating licences were suspended due to multiple food poisoning incidents, will have its suspension lifted on Wednesday (Aug 17).

The incidents took place between July 4 and 16, prompting the National Environment Agency (NEA) to suspend the operating licence of Pow Sing Restaurant, located at 63-65 Serangoon Garden Way, from July 13. The operating licence of its nearby Pow Sing Kitchen outlet, at 59 Serangoon Garden Way, was suspended three days later.

Joint investigations by the Ministry of Health, NEA and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) turned up 88 food poisoning cases with confirmed links to the two eateries. Thirty consumers sought outpatient medical treatment. No one was hospitalised.

According to a statement from the authorities, both eateries had "several hygiene lapses in the food preparation process" which caused bacterial contamination of the food.

These lapses included an unregistered food handler's involvement in food preparation, poor housekeeping, failure to maintain temperature records of refrigerators and freezers, and faulty chillers and freezers.

Food samples from Pow Sing Restaurant showed high levels of E. coli, salmonella and Bacillus cereus bacteria, while food samples from Pow Sing Kitchen contained E. coli and Bacillus cereus.

No food safety lapses by Pow Sing's food suppliers were detected by the AVA.

The two eateries have complied with NEA instructions to dispose of all ready-to-eat, thawed and perishable food, sanitised the premises, and made food handlers re-attend the agency's Basic Hygiene Course. All food handlers have since passed the course and been cleared as fit to work by the health ministry.

The eateries submitted plans to the authorities to ensure that hygiene standards are met during subsequent food preparation. The NEA will continue to closely monitor Pow Sing Restaurant and Pow Sing Kitchen after the suspension is lifted.

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