Rasel Catering apologises after being fined $4,800 for hygiene lapses that caused 345 food poisoning cases

Halal caterer Rasel Catering has been fined S$4,800 on 19 Jul 2023 for having multiple hygiene lapses, according to a press release by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

This comes 8 months after Rasel Catering was suspended following reports of gastroenteritis in 345 people after they consumed food prepared by the company. The catering group was suspended from 18 Nov to 29 Dec 2022, with their food hygiene grade being readjusted from an A to a C.

Rasel catering - cockroaches
Credit – Singapore Food Agency

When Rasel Catering’s premises were inspected by SFA and the Ministry of Health (MOH), live cockroaches were observed crawling around the area, and a dirty food container was even in use.

Rasel catering - dirty container
Credit – Singapore Food Agency

Pathogens were also found in their ready-to-eat items.

Rasel Catering apologises

In a statement released on Facebook, Rasel Catering’s Managing Director, Alan Tan, apologised for the company’s hygiene lapses.

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He explained that what happened was an “isolated once-off event”, and maintained that the dirty box found on the premises had been left there by a “disgruntled ex-staff member” who resigned 2 days before the SFA inspection.

Further internal inspections also revealed that 2 of Rasel Catering’s staff had been infected with Norovirus, while 1 had Salmonella. As the bacteria in the viruses could only be detected through stool tests and usually did not present any symptoms, the cases were not caught.

Mr Tan assured customers that the company has implemented improvements in their food safety. Their premises have reportedly undergone S$200,000 worth of upgrades, renovations and sanitisation, with Ozonators and IOT data loggers being installed.

They’ve also increased the number of Food Safety Officers from 1 to 4, and have new HR policies in which new and existing staff will have to undergo stool tests.

Their kitchen workflow was also redesigned, and random food sample tests will be sent for analysis. On top of that, Rasel Catering will do stringent screening of its suppliers.

Queueworthy Seletar Sheng Mian & Mian Fen Guo, AMK closed 17-24 Jul 2023