Free for all? Geylang 'cai png' stall responds after pigeons spotted feasting on its dishes


[UPDATE, Oct 22]

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will take enforcement action against the stall for the hygiene lapses detected, it said in a statement on Wednesday evening (Oct 21).

"We have also warned the operator to ensure that food is not left exposed and to remind staff to cover the food when they momentarily step away from the stall," SFA said.

"Food safety is a joint responsibility. While SFA puts in place and enforces the regulatory measures, food operators must play their part by adhering to good food hygiene and preparation practices."

Members of the public can flag any potentially errant food operators to SFA via its online feedback form.

SFA "will not hesitate" to take enforcement action if it obtains sufficient evidence, it added.

The internet might have taken a shine to an adorable fruit bat stealing a banana recently, but two pigeons engaging in some fowl play at a 'cai png' (economic rice) stall in Geylang weren't received nearly as well.

After footage of pigeons pecking away at the stall's food caused a stir online, an employee clarified today (Oct 21) that they adhere to strict hygiene standards and have thrown the affected food away, Lianhe Zaobao reported.

The 20-second clip, first posted on Facebook page Complaint Singapore on Tuesday (Oct 20), showed two birds helping themselves to the dishes on display at the stall in Yong Li Eating House.

One bird was even perched directly on the food.

It was only after the person behind the camera approached and shooed them away that the birds took off.


The clip, which swiftly made the rounds online, sparked concern online over possible hygiene lapses.

One commenter wrote: "Not fully the vendor fault but they need to prevent this type of contamination [sic]."

Another expressed worry over the possibility of "extra toppings" on the food in the form of bird droppings.

Speaking to the Chinese daily, an employee of the stall confirmed that the incident had taken place on Monday (Oct 19) at about 4pm.

He was the only one on duty at the time and did not see the birds as he was busy washing some items at the sink at the back of the stall, he explained.

"When I went back after finishing the washing, a customer told me that pigeons had flown in to eat our food."

According to the employee, he immediately threw all the food away and cooked up a fresh batch of dishes.

The stall had previously taken precautions such as using plastic to cover their food as the coffee shop frequently sees visits from the pigeons. But this is the first time the birds have entered the stall to steal food, he noted.

"The coffee shop employees all take hygiene very seriously. We have given feedback to the authorities about the pigeon problem and hope they are able to solve the matter quickly."

AsiaOne has reached out to Singapore Food Agency for more information.