SFA Responds to Viral YouTube Video By Angel Hsu About E. Coli in Chicken Rice Stalls


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Did you know that there’s a golden time to eat chicken rice?

Eat it for lunch; otherwise, you’ll likely have some “extra ingredients” in your chicken rice.

A viral YouTube video by Angel Hsu revealed just how common it is for E. coli bacteria in chicken rice to exceed regulatory limits. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has since responded.

Angel Hsu Eats 100 Chicken Rice; Nearly Half Have E. Coli Bacteria Exceeding Regulatory Limits

On Saturday (3 June), YouTuber Angel Hsu shared a video that would bring countless Singaporeans to the edge of their seats.

The SFA too.

In Angel Hsu’s viral video, which has garnered nearly 200,000 views, she tries 100 plates of chicken rice from 100 chicken rice stalls islandwide over two months.

 

Wah. Expensive leh.

Expensive indeed. Angel Hsu spent approximately $5,000 on this little project of hers. However, perhaps this can be explained by the fact that she bought two servings of chicken rice at each stall.

One serving to eat, the other to send to a lab for testing.

Cue the “Jiak pa bo sai pang” from every Asian parent.


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The influencer sent in the entire packet of chicken rice for testing—the chilli, cucumber, garnish, and of course, the chicken and the rice.

Oh, and it doesn’t matter if you’re Team Chicken Breast or Team Chicken Thigh. Angel Hsu bought chicken breast at every chicken rice stall to ensure a fair comparison.

Now for the lab results—drumrolls, please.

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Nearly half of the 100 chicken rice samples Angel Hsu sent for lab testing contained E. coli bacteria exceeding SFA’s regulatory limits.

Chicken rice samples from four particular stalls contained so much E. coli bacteria that the lab machine couldn’t even measure how much bacteria was in the chicken rice—the machine merely showed its upper limit.

Yes, you read that right. There’s a 50% chance that your chicken rice contains unacceptable amounts of E. coli bacteria.

Maybe the next time you order chicken rice, instead of asking for less rice or less chicken, you should ask for less E. coli.

SFA Responds to Angel Hsu’s Video; Says Only 13% of Chicken Rice Samples Tested in 2022 Had E. Coli Exceeding Regulatory Limits

Within less than a week, Angel Hsu’s video caught the eye of the SFA. And someone at SFA probably loves chicken rice because it seems like the food agency is fully defending it here.

According to the SFA, nearly 40% of chicken rice samples tested by the agency in 2021 exceeded their regulatory limits for E. coli bacteria. Fast forward to 2022, this figure has fallen to 13%.

Sure, there’s an improvement, but is the 13% figure sufficient to put you at ease the next time you order this local delight?


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According to the SFA, chicken rice can still be a worry-free meal. While levels of E.coli bacteria are often used as a food safety indicator, most strains of E. coli won’t cause illnesses.

In fact, despite the seemingly high levels of E. coli bacteria present in chicken rice, there have been no reported foodborne illnesses from chicken rice since 2020.

Singaporeans, go forth and order your chicken rice. You’re more likely to fall sick from applying your “five-second rule” on a potato chip you dropped on your crusty floor than a plate of chicken rice.

And look, Angel Hsu’s still alive, isn’t she?

Regular & Extensive Food Safety Checks Conducted by SFA

Still can’t find peace of mind?

It might make you feel better to know that SFA regularly conducts extensive food safety checks at chicken rice stalls in particular.


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Not because the SFA officers are trying to sneak a quick bite of chicken rice during their checks but because chicken rice, as a dish, poses higher food safety risks.

Here’s a quick chicken rice crash course for those of you who have never stepped into a kitchen in your life.

The chicken in your chicken rice only tastes the way it is because of how it’s prepared. And no, you don’t just add boiling water to it for five minutes like instant noodles.

Usually, the chicken is steamed or boiled before being placed in cold water. This means the chicken may be undercooked—bacteria galore!

To make it worse, chicken is often displayed at stalls for hours at room temperature to be sold. Imagine how many “extra ingredients” are added to your chicken.


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This is why there’s a “golden time” to buy chicken rice. According to medical doctor Leslie Tay, this “golden time” is during lunch, when you’ll usually find freshly cooked chicken.

Perhaps Angel Hsu found nearly half of her tested chicken rice samples to contain E. coli bacteria beyond regulatory limits because she bought chicken that had already been hanging on display for hours.

Regardless, you can rest assured that SFA maintains high food safety standards. If a stall doesn’t meet the agency’s standards, enforcement action will be taken.

A PSA for Chicken Rice Stall Operators in Light of Angel Hsu’s Viral Video

While Angel Hsu wasn’t sure if she caught a bacterial infection from all that chicken rice, she shared that she did suffer from diarrhoea and stomachaches every day throughout the two months.

That’s acceptable if you’re eating mala, but chicken rice? Come on; we can do better.

So, here’s a PSA for all chicken rice stall operators.

The SFA advises all chicken rice stall operators that cooked chicken meat should be sold within four hours and that the cold water bath used to prepare chicken should be replaced frequently.


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Raw and cooked meat should also be appropriately separated.

And what would food safety advice be without a tip about washing your hands? SFA advises operators to wash their hands thoroughly after touching raw food. When handling cooked food, use gloves.

One last tip from SFA that all tiger moms would also approve of: clean your cutting boards and kitchen surfaces regularly.

And of course, clean the cleaning cloth as well.

With SFA’s assurances, we trust that everyone is on talking terms with chicken rice again. So, why not try out Singapore’s top chicken rice stalls, according to Angel Hsu’s video?

You can find all of Angel Hsu’s chicken rice ratings here. Happy feasting!

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