Eng’s Wantan Noodle fined for disregarding hygiene practices — What is an appropriate punishment?

The famous Eng’s Wantan Noodle has spurred an internet uproar with recent news on its infringement of hygiene measures. As of 19 Oct 2022, the stall was fined S$3,300 by the court for selling food unfit for consumption.

TODAYONLINE - facebook comments

Once news broke loose on the internet on 19 October 2022, internet commentators seemed to take a strong stance towards the penalty. Most of the comments clearly indicated their unhappiness with the chain, as it wasn’t the first time Eng’s Wantan Noodle has run into hygiene mishaps. Some comments even mentioned that they should be penalised with permanent closure, stating “可以关店了” (English translation: This store can close down). Of course, aside from these extreme comments were the mention of more forgiving ones, suggesting a higher monetary penalty.

So what exactly happened? In May 2021, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) received feedback from 68 different cases that exhibited symptoms of gastroenteritis after consuming food at Eng’s Wanton Noodle located at 287 Tanjong Katong Road.

ENG's Wantan Noodle - Store front

A joint investigation conducted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and SFA found that the ready-to-eat items, primarily char siew and choi sim, failed the microbiological limits agreed under regulations. This led to their one-month suspension of operations from 18 May 2021 to 28 June 2021. As a result of these lapses, SFA took action to downgrade their hygiene certification from “A” to “C”, with effect from 18 Feb 2022— to be reviewed after 12 months.

SFA takes food hygiene practices extremely seriously. According to the press release, “All food operators should ensure that their premises are clean and well-maintained”. Failure to adhere to regulations would inflict a strict penalties. Netizens are definitely on the same page for this, in fact, with even heftier commentary consequences.

Before this fiasco, ENG’s Wantan Noodles seemed to have it all, with 13 outlets opened all over Singapore. However, with repeated unhygienic episodes in other outlets, this famous chain seems blacklisted for most.

So what do you think? Given repeated hygiene offences, should Eng’s Wantan Noodle be punished more severely? Or have netizens taken it too extreme?

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