Two stalls granted licences to sell ready-to-eat raw fish dishes

The National Environment Agency received 10 applications for the sale of ready-to-eat raw fish dishes as of Jan 8, and is reviewing them.
Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 8 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) has approved two applications by stalls for the sale of ready-to-eat raw fish dishes, it said in a joint statement with the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Friday (Jan 8).

The two stalls are Lye Bo Congee at Block 120 Bukit Merah #01-27 and Rui Ji Stall at Block 120 Bukit Merah #01-61. Both licencees applied to use raw salmon from approved sources for such dishes.

NEA and AVA said they received 10 applications in total, and are reviewing the applications for the other seven licences after one licensee withdrew its application.

On Dec 5, 2015, authorities imposed a ban on on the use of freshwater fish in all ready-to-eat (RTE) raw fish dishes, after tests by NEA and AVA showed that freshwater fish have "significantly higher" bacterial contamination than saltwater fish, and are likely to present higher risks of infection.

Retail food establishments that wanted to sell such dishes could only use saltwater fish intended for raw consumption following the ban, while food stalls in hawker centres, coffeeshops, canteens and food courts, as well as food establishments providing catering services were required to stop the sale of all ready-to-eat raw fish fishes using saltwater fish until they could comply with the practices required for such dishes.

A spike in Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections reported last June prompted authorities to look into the link between raw fish and the GBS bacteria. The ban came into effect after results of the probe were released.

APPROVAL PROCESS COULD TAKE TWO TO THREE WEEKS: NEA, AVA

NEA and AVA said they take about "two to three weeks" to approve a retail food establishment to sell ready-to-eat raw fish dishes after all necessary documents have been submitted.

"These include documentation on the quality of RTE raw fish by their suppliers and evidence of proper cold chain management," the statement said. NEA and AVA added that the premises of the food outlet will be inspected to ensure it complies with necessary hygiene requirements for separate processing, handling and story of ready-to-eat raw fish from other raw foods intended for cooking.

NEA and AVA said retail food establishments are advised to submit their applications to sell ready-to-eat raw fish early, in light of the upcoming Chinese New Year season.

- CNA/dl


Two stalls receive approval to sell ready-to-eat raw fish dishes
AsiaOne 8 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) has approved the applications of two food stalls to resume selling ready-to-eat (RTE) raw fish dishes, it said in a joint statement with the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Friday (Jan 8).

The two stalls are - Lye Bo Congee at Block 120 Bukit Merah #01-27 and Rui Ji Stall at Block 120 Bukit Merah #01-61. They had applied to use raw salmon from approved sources.

NEA and AVA received 10 applications in total, and are reviewing the applications for seven other licenses. One licensee had withdrawn its application.

The authorities said that it takes around two to three weeks for assessment and approval once the necessary documents have been submitted.

The statement added that the premises of the food outlet will be inspected to ensure it complies with necessary hygiene requirements for the separate processing, handling and storage of RTE raw fish from other raw foods meant for cooking.

The authorities had imposed a ban on Dec 5, 2015, on the use of freshwater fish in all ready-to-eat (RTE) raw fish dishes. Tests found that these fish contained higher bacterial contamination than saltwater fish, and are likely to pose higher risks of infection.

Following the ban, many fishmongers suffered a severe drop in business.

Fishmonger Yew Wing Fatt, 48, told The New Paper that he was lucky if he sold 200kg of fishe. Before the ban, Mr Yew's stall had a steady stream of customers who would buy more than 800kg of fish daily.

Man hospitalised after eating sashimi; NEA says eatery has no food hygiene lapses
AsiaOne 7 Jan 16;

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Thursday (Jan 7) that it has conducted an investigation after a man claimed that he was hospitalised from eating sashimi at a local sushi outlet.

In a Facebook post on Dec 30 last year, user Randall Heng warned his family and friends against eating raw food.

He said that he consumed about 20 slices of sashimi at Sushi Express located at Seletar Mall.

Mr Heng later suffered a fever that "edged over 40 degrees" which also caused him to "shiver until (his) lips turned purple."

A photo of a hand connected to an intravenous drip accompanied the Facebook post.

In addition, the man noted that some of the sashimi slices had "traces of blood on them" and that he placed them back onto the conveyor belt.

The Straits Times reported that NEA conducted an inspection of the food outlet's premises on Jan 2 and found no food hygiene lapses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that Mr Heng has been discharged from the hospital and that his illness was not linked to a Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection.

In the wake of a spike of GBS infections in the country last year, local authorities imposed a ban on ready-to-eat raw fish dishes prepared using freshwater fish in December.

There were 360 cases of the bacterial infection which killed three people and caused several others to lose part of their limbs. A man also fell into a coma after contracting meningitis triggered by the infection.

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