The National Environment Agency (NEA) has applied for a court summons against Hotpot Culture Restaurants in Marina Square for selling food unfit for human consumption, it said, in a media statement today (Feb 3).

The restaurant, which has been suspended since a dead rat was found in a vegetable dish in its porridge buffet spread on Jan 9, had its suspension imposed by the NEA lifted today, after it took measures against signs of rodent infestation uncovered by the authorities.

But the NEA said the restaurant and Marina Square Shopping Mall are required to continue with weekly pest control treatment and submit all pest control reports to NEA over the next three months.

The offence of selling food unfit for human consumption carries a maximum fine of S$10,000 and six demerit points.

Since the suspension, it has carried out seven rounds of inspections at Hotpot Culture and at least three rounds of inspections at Marina Square and other food outlets there, the NEA said.

Referring to Hotpot Culture, it added: “We have assessed that the premises have been adequately spruced up and measures put in place to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident.”

The restaurant was told to thoroughly clean and sanitise the kitchen, utensils and equipment, as well as rectify structural defects that had allowed rodents into the storeroom and kitchen of the restaurant. Hotpot Culture was also told to carry out intense pest control treatment and review its refuse management system and food handling workflow, the NEA added.

Last week, the NEA had said it detected rodent activity in the false ceilings of 14 F&B establishments at Marina Square and at one of its bin centres. This followed an audit done in October last year, when all 77 licensed F&B establishments at the mall were checked following feedback from a tenant about a rat sighting in his shop.

After the inspections, which were done at night when rodents are most active, enforcement action was taken against 16 food shops. Evidence of rodent activity was found at 12 shops while food scraps were found on the floor of the other four.

The NEA had said it did not receive further feedback on rodents at the mall until the Hotpot Culture incident.

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