Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Downgrading of Food Hygiene Ratings by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) why did it take eight to 10 months after food poisoning incidents to downgrade the Food Hygiene ratings of food outlets in Nanyang Girls School and the Shangri-La Hotel; and (b) what is the usual range and median for such time intervals.
1 To safeguard food safety, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) requires food establishments involved in food poisoning incidents to take immediate corrective action to rectify the food safety lapses. SFA may also issue a direction to stop the sale of food until the lapses are rectified. This is done for incidents assessed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to have significant public health risk, or where SFA had detected severe food safety lapses.
2 Based on joint investigation findings by SFA and MOH, SFA will take the necessary enforcement actions against the offender for lapses detected. Examples of these include prosecution in court and the issuance of composition fines. SFA will also assess if a downgrading of the premises’ food hygiene grade is warranted. In cases involving prosecution, this takes place after the offender has been convicted of the alleged offences. This allows all relevant facts to be taken into account. The time taken for food establishments to be downgraded can vary depending on the complexity of the case, such as whether multiple food establishments are involved. It ranges from six to eleven months, with the median being eight months.