The National Environment Agency or NEA announced a blanket ban on the serving of raw freshwater fish by any food outlet with immediate effect. Food stalls include hawker centres, coffee shops, food courts and canteens. Restaurants are exempted from this ban as they generally observe hygiene standards and source fish from suppliers who deal with fish intended for raw consumption.
NEA stated that this new ban was announced to protect public heath in view of the upcoming Chinese New Year where yusheng would be served. In total, the Ministry of Health has received 360 cases of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections in 2015, 2 of which were fatal. 150 of these cases were linked to the consumption of raw fish, in particular raw snakehead and asian carp which are usually consumed with porridge.
Last Tuesday, a 22 year old NSF passed away of GBS and the case is currently being investigated. In November this year, another 52 year old man became critcally ill after eating raw fish porridge and just woke up from a 10 day coma on Tuesday.
NEA lab tests found freshwater fish to have significantly higher bacterial contamination than saltwater fish and comes with a much higher risk of GBS infection when consumed raw.