SFA investigating Catering Solutions after complaints about meals at Jalan Tukang dormitory
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said on Friday (Oct 22) it is investigating Catering Solutions over meals it provided to residents of Westlite Jalan Tukang Dormitory.
This comes after photos emerged in an online article last week showing insects and hair in packets of food.
Workers at the dormitory had complained about the quality of the food served by an external caterer, as well as the lack of hygiene in the preparation. Sembcorp Marine said last Friday that it has "taken the caterer to task" and apologised to its workers living at the dormitory.
In response to CNA's queries, SFA said it did not receive any feedback from residents of Westlite Tukang Dormitory on catered food.
The agency noted that in May, it worked with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to issue a food safety advisory to dormitory operators and employers of migrant workers.
"Operators/management and employers are reminded to only engage licensed caterers, and to encourage workers to practise good personal hygiene and adhere to time-stamp labels on catered food," said SFA.
Since 2019, SFA has taken around 20 enforcement actions against licensed food establishments catering food to migrant worker dormitories. These include letters of warning and composition fines, the agency said.
"All food establishments licensed by SFA, including caterers, are required to comply with SFA’s regulatory requirements. SFA conducts regular inspections of these establishments to ensure compliance," it added.
SFA said all licensed caterers are subject to the same requirements, regardless of who they supply food to.
These include time-stamping the meals to inform people of the recommended "consume by" time. It is set at four hours from the time a cooked dish is placed at the temperature danger zone of between 5 degrees Celsius and 60 degrees Celsius after it was first prepared for consumption, the agency said.
According to its website, Catering Solutions offers bento boxes that are specially designed to ensure freshness.
"Our specially-designed bento boxes are air-tight sealed and, where necessary, gas flushed to preserve the freshness of the meals and prevent contamination," it said.
The quality of meals was among the issues raised by residents at Westlite Jalan Tukang Dormitory. They had also complained about delays in moving COVID-19 cases out of the dormitory.
MOM acknowledged that "insufficient resources" were deployed for an "unexpected" increase in COVID-19 cases at the dormitory, resulting in delays transfering these cases to care or recovery facilities.