Recently in Singapore there is a case of food poisoning where over a hundred people suffered food poisoning when they ate at a famous Indian rojak stall along Geylang Serai. The case of food poisoning was so serious that several victims had to go to the hospitals with deaths and one miscarriage recorded.
With this high profile case, Members of Parliament are falling over themselves stating the need that food sold to the public must be clean and safe. The latest to get into the act is Jalan Besar MP, Ms.Denise Phua, who said that food sellers have a moral duty to ensure this. There is also a ‘suggestion’ from the Singapore Health Minister that renewal of licenses for hawkers should be tied to how clean their stalls are.
I’m afraid they faced a small problem on this. Most Singaporeans just don’t care about how clean the stalls are. I mean when Singaporeans go to eat at the hawker centre, they don’t look at what grade of cleanliness the stalls has; I know I don’t. Most Singaporeans, including me, also feel that this is a one off incident. The Geylang Serai Indian rojak stall involved in the incident has been in business for over 20 years and there were no problems before.
I’m not saying that food cleanliness isn’t important but there’s no need to over-react on the matter. I don’ think Singapore has a problem with cleanliness and hygiene and I disagree with tying renewal of hawker licenses to how clean the stalls are. That’s just an over-reaction.