SFA taking action against Geylang food stall for hygiene lapses after pigeons have 'free buffet'

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will be taking enforcement action against an economy rice stall in Geylang for hygiene lapses and has also warned its operator over leaving food exposed.

This comes after a Facebook video showing pigeons feasting on food at the unattended stall went viral online.

A netizen witnessed the incident at Yong Li Eating House along Geylang Road on Monday afternoon (Oct 19).

In the video, two birds are spotted eating from the dishes on display at the stall, with one of them perched on a tray of meat.

The netizen can be heard saying that the birds were "eating good food" before going closer to the stall and causing them to fly off.

When contacted by Stomp, the netizen said that he did not see any staff around at the stall.

An employee told Lianhe Zaobao that he had been the only one working at the stall when the incident took place.

Li Yizhong, 59, recounted: "I was washing things in the sink at the back of the stall and didn't notice the pigeons. A customer later informed me that birds had flown in and eaten the food."

The employee of seven months said that he immediately discarded all the food that were on display and prepared a new batch.

Li also said that he has always taken precautions such as using plastic to cover the food due to the coffee shop's pigeon problem.

However, this is the first time pigeons have flown into the stall to feast on the food.

"All the staff in the coffee shop pay close attention to hygiene," shared Li.

"We have also provided feedback about the pigeon issue to the relevant authorities and hope it can be resolved as soon as possible."

In response to a Stomp query, the SFA said: "Under the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations, every person selling cooked food must protect the food from likely contamination and not prepare any food which is unfit for consumption."

The SFA also said that it conducts regular inspections of food retail establishments to ensure compliance with its regulations, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action if necessary.

It added: "SFA promptly inspected the food stall upon receiving feedback. We will be taking enforcement action for the hygiene lapses detected.

"We have also warned the operator to ensure that food is not left exposed and to remind staff to cover the food when they momentarily step away from the stall."

Food safety is a joint responsibility, reminded the SFA.

"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," it said.

"Members of the public who come across any potentially errant food operator should report 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 will not hesitate to take enforcement action against errant food handlers if we have obtained sufficient evidence."