A video of a rat moving inside a chicken placed in one of two bags of raw poultry has been making its rounds on social media after being shared on Reddit and Facebook.
The bags were in a blue basket placed outside a shuttered coffee shop located at Block 95 Toa Payoh Lorong 4. The rat was filmed climbing out of the chicken and scurrying away after the basket was kicked a few times.
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is currently investigating the chicken rice stall in question about the incident.
On Wednesday (3 April), a spokesman for SFA said investigations are ongoing and the agency will not hesitate to take action on such cases.
Food operators must ensure that food hygiene standards, such as storing raw ingredients properly, are adhered to, the spokesman added.
Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao visited the owner of the chicken rice shop, named Ah De, 34, on Wednesday when he was cleaning the stall which was closed that morning after an inspection by the authorities. Unfortunately, the food he had prepared for the day had gone unsold due to the incident.
Mr Ah De told Wanbao that he was unsure when the video was taken, and he has not found any rats when handling the chickens.
“I previously requested the raw chicken supplier to use an additional basket so that the basket with the raw chickens are lifted and not left on the ground. Now something has happened, and I’m discussing the matter with them,” he said.
He is also planning to change food suppliers and request compensation from his current supplier.
Several netizens who came across the video commented that it is unhygienic for raw chicken to be left in the open. Some blamed the supplier while others felt that both the stall owner and supplier were at fault.
Facebook user Na Naah said that since the delivery was made early in the day, the raw food should have been kept in sealed ice boxes.
Members of the public who come across errant food operators can submit a report to SFA via an online feedback form.
TOC understands that suppliers of fresh raw food such as chickens leave the merchandise outside of stalls early in morning before anyone is present. Just a few days ago, TOC was told by a stall owner in one wet market in Woodlands that such occurrence with rats is a common thing. According to him, the rats are smart and memorise the timing where there is no people and food are available. The vendors often have to discard a few chickens due to rats gnawing on the chicken. When asked if such matters have been brought up to operators and the town council, he shared that the pesticide used by the contracted vendor to control the pest is the cheapest in the market and unable to kill the rats. So they just have to live with the issue, he said.