Some restaurants have stopped using pest control services during the blackout period, raising the specter of another outbreak even as Singapore battles the coronavirus.
Pest control operators said a handful of restaurants, eateries and cafes in shopping malls and Housing Board estates across the island have stopped using their services and have warned that a pest outbreak was imminent.
Mr Edwin Kwek, solutions specialist at PestWerkz Solutions, told the Straits Times that a dozen of his food and beverage (F&B) customers have stopped using his services – some in an attempt to reduce costs and others because they are closed during the breaker period.
Other pest control operators ST spoke to also said that some of their customers have stopped monthly checks, which are looking for signs of rodents, cockroaches and flies, and putting in place preventive measures such as glue traps for rodents.
Dr Hwang Wei Song, entomologist at the Lee Kong Chian Museum of Natural History at the National University of Singapore, pointed out that since the places where food is stored, prepared and preserved are the main source of food for parasites, the potential impact of stopping pest control services depends on how F&B outlets store food and manage waste, and on their general hygiene.
Mr. Bernard Chan, founder of pest control Eficaz, noted that stores closed during this time may present a higher risk of pest infestation. Its teams recorded more parasite observations in most of the F&B units closed just a few days after the circuit breaker was started.
He said: “In the absence of human activity, it is easier for pests like cockroaches and rats to ‘claim’ more territory.
“Even with fewer food sources, I think they’ll find a way. Cockroaches can survive with a minimal amount of food debris, while rats can chew on wrappers to gain access to food.”
In response to questions, the Singapore Food Agency said food store operators, including businesses closed during the blackout period, must engage pest control services at least once a month for s ” ensure that their premises are free from pests.
He said: “Under the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations, it is an offense if food store operators fail to keep their premises free from pest infestations.”
Mr Dellen Soh, managing director of Minor Food Group Singapore, said pest control services continued as usual at the group’s approximately 60 F&B outlets across the island, including those that are closed. during this period.
“The rats don’t know the restaurant is closed; they will always wander. If you keep doing the interview, they won’t dare to come.