SFA takes enforcement action against Lerk Thai restaurant after rats 'as huge as man's fist' spotted

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has taken enforcement against a restaurant in Woodlands for failing to keep its premises clean, it told Stomp on Wednesday (Oct 7).

Stomper Poh had earlier shared how he spotted multiple rats "as huge as an adult male fist" at Lerk Thai Restaurant, located at Woodlands Civic Centre, on Sep 27.

Poh, who saw the rodents at around 11.45pm, also shared a photo and a video that compared the size of the rats to his hand.

A spokesman for Lerk Thai Restaurant said that inspections were carried out at on Sep 28 and Sep 30, adding that it would cooperate with the authorities and Woodlands Civic Centre to "fight against the infestation situation".

In response to a Stomp query, the SFA said: "Under the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations, operators of SFA-licensed premises are to ensure that the premises is free of infestation by rodents, cockroaches or other vermin.

"SFA inspected the restaurant upon receiving feedback. There was no evidence of rat infestation inside the restaurant at the points of inspection. Nonetheless, we have taken enforcement action against the restaurant for failing to keep the premises clean.

"Potential entry points for the rats were identified, and we have instructed the restaurant to ensure that their premises is rat-proof and to increase the frequency of pest control inspection. We have also advised the building management to seal up possible rat entry points near the restaurant and surrounding areas.

According to the SFA, the key strategy in managing rat infestation is to remove food sources and areas of harbourage.

This includes ensuring that the environment is kept clean, food is stored in rat-proof containers and good refuse management is practised.

"Maintaining proper housekeeping is also essential for eliminating areas where rats can nest and breed," the SFA added.

"Such efforts by all parties will go a long way in ensuring that businesses and customers benefit from better service and hygiene standards."

The SFA also reminded that all stakeholders must put in place a good system of housekeeping, refuse management and routine pest control checks and treatment.

It said: "Consistent and sustained efforts by all parties are needed to ensure rat infestation in an area is tackled holistically.

"The authorities will not hesitate to take enforcement action for lapses in rat control on the part of food establishment operators, owners of premises (e.g. building owners, non-food businesses, etc.) or managing agents."