Forum: Industry and consumers have a part to play in cleanliness, Forum News & Top Stories


We agree with Mr Brandon Lee that good hygiene practices are critical in curbing the spread of Covid-19 (Hygienic dining environment needed at hawker centres, coffee shops, June 22).

Everyone has a role to play in upholding good hygiene standards.

Under the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations, stallholders at hawker centres and coffee shops are required to ensure that crockery and receptacles, such as trays, provided to patrons are clean.

Food establishment operators must also keep food preparation areas and premises clean and pest-free, and ensure that food preparation surfaces, eating utensils and cooking equipment are clean.

Singapore Food Agency (SFA) inspects and enforces actions to ensure that food establishments comply with the regulations.

At the start of the Covid-19 situation in Singapore, SFA and the National Environment Agency (NEA) also issued reminders to stallholders at hawker centres and coffee shops on the need for good hygiene practices such as regularly disinfecting areas that are touched frequently, for example, tabletops.

Stallholders are reminded to adopt measures to maintain good personal and public hygiene, such as the wearing of masks.

They should also ensure that staff who are unwell seek medical attention promptly.

The town councils manage and maintain common property in most hawker centres.

NEA issued an advisory in May to town councils, hawker centre and market operators, managing agents, and cleaning contractors and their staff to maintain high standards of sanitation in hawker centres and markets.

In June, town councils were reminded to step up cleaning and disinfection at hawker centres before dine-in resumed, and to follow the guidelines in the earlier advisory.

There have been extensive educational efforts, including the Clean Tables Campaign this year.

It is now mandatory for patrons to return trays and crockery, and to clear the table of litter at hawker centres, allowing cleaners to focus on cleaning and disinfecting tables.

This self-service approach is a more sustainable way of keeping our dining places safe and clean.

It is also crucial for diners to exercise good personal hygiene. These include:

• Seeking medical attention promptly and staying home if unwell;

• Wearing a mask and observing safe distancing measures when out of the house;

• Washing hands with soap and water before eating and after going to the toilet;

• Avoiding touching the face with hands;

• Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing/sneezing, and throwing the tissue away into a bin immediately.

Abdul Jalil (Dr)

Senior Director

Joint Operations Division

Singapore Food Agency

Andrew Low

Group Director

Hawker Centres Division

National Environment Agency