The suspension on Tung Lok Millennium Pte Ltd at 1 Expo Drive will be lifted and operations can be resumed as the National Environment Agency (NEA) is satisfied that the company has implemented measures to rectify the lapses detected.
The authority stated in a press release on Thursday (24 January) that the suspension was a result of the joint investigations by the Ministry of Health (MOH), NEA and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) into the food poisoning incident, which traced to the consumption of food prepared at the premises.
To protect consumers from public health risks, NEA had suspended the operating licence of Tung Lok Millennium Pte Ltd for a total of 63 days from 23 November 2018 to 24 January 2019.
In total, 190 cases reported gastroenteritis symptoms after consuming food prepared by Tung Lok Millennium Pte Ltd at 1 Expo Drive during an event held between 19 and 21 November 2018.
None of the cases were hospitalised. As the majority of the cases had recovered by the time MOH was informed of the outbreak, stool samples were not available for analysis to identify the causative agent.
However, several hygiene lapses and poor kitchen habits were identified, including not providing soap for handwashing and improper use of ice dispensing utensil for ready-to-eat ice. An environmental swab taken from the bento packing table also tested positive for Bacillus cereus.
The authority said that during the suspension period, the licensee had complied with the following measures stipulated by NEA, such as disposing all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items; and cleaning and sanitising the premises, including equipment, utensils, work surfaces and toilets.
It added that the licensee had submitted their plans to ensure that good hygiene standards are observed during their food preparation, which include providing soap for handwashing, proper use of ice dispensing utensil for ready-to-eat ice, and ensuring that their staff practise good food and personal hygiene at all times.
All food handlers have since re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene training course. Under the enhanced Food Hygiene Officer (FHO) scheme announced in December 2018, if the licence of a food establishment is suspended, all its Food Hygiene Officers are required to go for retraining and pass the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit course.
According to NEA, Tung Lok Millennium Pte Ltd has appointed a new Food Hygiene Officer (FHO) at the implicated premises who has undergone and passed the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit course.
The authority said that in addition to the 63-day suspension, NEA will be issuing a warning to Tung Lok Millennium Pte Ltd for the hygiene lapses found. Following the lifting of its suspension, NEA will place Tung Lok Millennium Pte Ltd under close surveillance to ensure that the licensee adheres to what they have submitted in their plans.