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The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and a Bukit Timah restaurant have issued statements in response to feedback from a customer who alleged finding tissue paper in his hotpot.
Stomper M said he visited Three Meals A Day, a Korean restaurant located at 12 Chun Tin Road, for dinner on September 11, at around 6.40pm.
He recounted: "We ordered the Bulnak Jeongol, which consists of hotpot with beef bulgogi, octopus and vegetables.
"We unknowingly bit down into something that was difficult to tear apart, and the soup juices absorbed by the said item released like a sponge. This was at around 7.10pm.
"We realised that item was tissue paper/paper towel! There were two big pieces inside.
"The manager apologised to us and offered to replace the hotpot soup. She reasoned that tissues were used to dab dry the raw seafood and must have been left inside the pot by the chef.
"We agreed and also asked to replace the serving bowls. To our dismay, we found that one of the new serving bowls was sticky and greasy. When we attempted to wipe the grease off, our tissue got stuck in the bowl.
"We were disgusted and asked to leave the restaurant.
"The manager offered to give us a free replacement for the meal while insisting that her restaurant is certified "A" (presumably for cleanliness). Nevertheless, we left.
M subsequently reported the matter to SFA.
SFA said it inspected the restaurant upon receiving feedback.
"We did not detect any infringements of our food safety and hygiene requirements during inspection. Nevertheless, we have reminded the operator to ensure that all food served is free of foreign matter at all times," SFA told Stomp:
"Food safety is a joint responsibility. While SFA puts in place and enforces the regulatory measures, food operators must play their part by adhering to good food hygiene and preparation practices.
"Members of the public who come across any potentially errant food operator should report it to SFA via the online feedback form. As part of the enquiry and gathering of evidence, SFA may engage the feedback provider for more details."
SFA added that it will not hesitate to take enforcement action against errant food operators if it has obtained sufficient evidence.
In response to a Stomp query, the owner of Three Meals A Day, said: "We are saddened to hear that our customer had an unpleasant experience in our restaurant.
"However, we do not understand how the tissue ended up in the food. We have never used such tissue paper in our kitchen. There is no tissue paper involved in any process of cooking that food item as we keep all our ingredients using clean plastic bags.
"We are not doubting the customer, which is why we apologised to the customer multiple times and offered a free replacement of the food item, but we are also confused about the situation.
"We have explained to SFA, including the process of cooking, and had everything checked by them and confirmed that there is no tissue in our kitchen.
"Again, we are sorry that our valued customer had an unpleasant experience but I hope you can understand we are equally confused about the situation. Thank you."