SINGAPORE, April 11 — Seafood restaurant Burger & Lobster was today ordered to pay a S$3,000 (RM10,528) fine over three food safety-related violations. These were uncovered in 2022 following a gastroenteritis outbreak that affected more than 100 consumers and landed five in the hospital.

The company pleaded guilty to three offences, which were failing to:

• Ensure the restaurant was properly maintained and kept in good repair

• Ensure its food appliances were kept clean


• Employ a food hygiene officer

The gastroenteritis outbreak in May 2022 that affected 132 customers led to the restaurant branch in Jewel Changi Airport closing for almost two months and its shop hygiene marks downgraded from A to C for a year.

Case background


Court documents stated that a joint investigation between the Ministry of Health and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) was conducted on the Jewel branch of the restaurant on May 16, 2022 following feedback about the gastroenteritis cases.

People who have gastroenteritis typically suffer from symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps due to bacteria or viral infections.

Officers found cracked and broken floor tiles near the lobster preparation area, constituting the offence of failing to maintain the premises properly and keeping it in good repair.

“Licensed premises are required to be properly maintained and kept in good repair to ensure that the premises are clean and to prevent pest infestation,” SFA said.

Officers also observed that an oven toaster was stained and dirtied with food crumbs, making the second offence of failing to keep appliances clean.

When officers asked for the information of the food hygiene officer for the premises, they were informed that there was none at the material time.

A food establishment with a kitchen area exceeding 16 square metres is required by law to employ a food hygiene officer, whose responsibilities include overseeing and implementing effective food hygiene measures.

Such an officer is also required to undergo training.

SFA sought a fine of S$1,500 for each offence, or S$4,500 in total.

In delivering her decision, District Judge Wong Su Ann noted that the breaches were discovered following the food poisoning incident.

However, she noted that the prosecution’s position was that the offences were not “proven to be the cause of that food poisoning incident”.

She also noted that it was not known how long some of the breaches, particularly the broken tiles and the dirty oven, have been going on before the inspection.

The judge added that there was no food hygiene officer appointed at the restaurant for a period of over three months between March and June.

The defence had argued in mitigation that there was difficulty filling the position after a former food hygiene officer resigned, and that the general manager tried to obtain certification in May but the course was fully booked.

District Judge Wong said she was “not persuaded” that it would take three months to find a qualified replacement or certify an existing officer for the role. This was especially given that the relevant course was a three-day course.

For each breach, Burger & Lobster could have been fined up to S$2,000. — TODAY