Can a Business in Singapore Lose Its Licence from a Rodent Infestation?

by Dec 6, 2023

Yes, it is possible for a business to lose its licence due to a rodent infestation in Singapore, and a number of businesses have in the recent past. In July earlier this year, a pizzeria in Changi City Point had its operations suspended due to pest infestations, including rodents, according to The Straits Times. Just a few months following the incident, a food processing plant on Ubi Avenue was suspended and fined for “severe” rodent and other pest infestations. In the past five years, all manner of businesses in Singapore—including university food stalls, a flour mill, and a confectionery manufacturer—have had their licences revoked, at least temporarily, because of rat colonies. The problem was so prominently featured in the news that the National Environmental Agency of Singapore (NEA) started issuing guidelines to town councils on how to control rodents. Do not let your business be the next domino to fall. Keep on reading to learn more about commercial rodent control in Singapore and why it might be an essential investment for your company.

Why Businesses Should Worry about Commercial Rodent Control in Singapore

While health and safety inspections are routine for all businesses operating in Singapore, pest control has come under the spotlight because of a number of outrageous incidents involving rodents. Enforcement became particularly strict after a shocking episode in 2015 when customers found a rat carcass in a hotpot dish at a shopping mall restaurant. The subsequent investigation led to the discovery of rodent infestations at 14 other food and beverage businesses at the same mall. Because of such infamous occurrences, the NEA and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) have taken on a no-holds-barred strategy when it comes to the enforcement of pest control regulations. 

The companies in the food and beverage (F&B) industry are the ones most at risk of getting their licences revoked because of rodent problems. The SFA routinely investigates F&B premises for pests using a newly developed risk-based assessment. If a company is found to have violated pest control regulations, it will get demerit points. The SFA allows the business time to comply with regulations, but if the company continues to accumulate demerit points going up to 12, then it may lose its licence temporarily or possibly permanently. It should be noted that businesses outside of the F&B industry, such as hotels where food may be served, also fall under the purview of SFA’s demerit system. 

Getting demerit points and having the business licence suspended can cost a company more than daily profits. It can lead to embarrassing headlines that affect the long-term viability of a brand. Therefore, businesses, especially F&B businesses, cannot afford to ignore even the slightest sign of a rodent infestation on their premises. 

How to Spot Signs of Rodent Infestations on Business Premises 

Early detection is crucial for the elimination and prevention of rodent infestations. Here are a few of the tell-tale signs of rodent presence that businesses should be aware of:

  • Droppings: Rat droppings look like pellets, and while small, there can be a lot of them. Rats can leave droppings in and around confined areas, under sinks, and near sources of food. They can be left in unseen areas, such as inside cardboard boxes, or in very visible areas, like kitchen countertops. 
  • Teeth Marks: Rats love chewing on things. Therefore, gnaw marks are a major sign of a rat infestation. Rats can chew on almost anything to get food or water. If you see signs of small teeth marks on things like plastic wrappers, then it is time to quickly do an online search for “rodent control near me” before the next round of government inspection. 
  • Track Marks: Rats may leave marks on surfaces they tread on as they scurry between their nests and sources of food. These marks may look brownish or greasy and are commonly found along floors or walls. 
  • Burrows and Nests: Rats are nesting creatures. If you have a garden, borrows in the ground may indicate a rodent infestation. In indoor areas, rat nests are sometimes found in ceilings. They can also nest in other secluded indoor areas, such as inside cardboard boxes.
  • Noises: Many types of rats make squeaky noises, which can often be heard around at night if there is an infestation. In addition, scurrying noises coming from the walls or sounds of gnawing can also point towards a rodent infestation. 
  • Visual Sightings: Actually spotting a rat on your premises, especially during daylight hours, can suggest a very serious infestation.

The above are the most common signs of a rodent infestation. If the infestation is significant, the indicators will be visually obvious. However, If the infestation is still in its nascent stage, you may miss some of the signs. Therefore, it is highly recommended to call a rodent control company to do a thorough inspection of your business premises to accurately identify the problem before it gets out of control. 

How Can Businesses Fully Get Rid of Rodent Infestations? 

If a rodent infestation is present or suspected, getting rid of it is essential for complying with Singapore’s health and safety laws. Read below to learn about what you can do if you think there are rodents occupying your company premises. 

Invest in Professional Rodent Control Inspections

The best way to completely get rid of rats is to eliminate infestations early on before they become more widespread and difficult to target. While you can ask employees to look for signs of rats, you should ideally hire pest control professionals to do a comprehensive check of your premises. Unlike your employees, trained professionals will know exactly where to look for rodent entrances, nesting sites, and other signs of activity. Moreover, routine inspections by professionals will help you fully mitigate the risk of an infestation, possibly preventing the need to spend money on expensive control methods later. 

Hire Reliable Rodent Pest Control Services

Although you can use things like store-bought rat traps at your business premises, it is not recommended to rely entirely on such DIY methods. Unlike homes, business premises tend to be larger with more secluded areas, like storerooms, for rats to nest. Therefore, businesses should seriously invest in professional rodent control services tailored to commercial environments. Professionals can bring you a wealth of expertise and use proven methods to detect, remove, and prevent rodent infestations. Additionally, they can offer you in-depth assessments, highly targeted treatments, and effective and long-lasting results. 

Have a Follow-Up Plan

A good number of businesses that lose their licence due to rodent infestations are repeat offenders. The reason is simple. Even if you completely eliminate a rodent infestation once, it can still reoccur. Therefore, having a follow-up plan is necessary to comply with health and safety rules. If you hire a professional service, they can draft a plan to reduce the risk of a recurrence. Reliable rodent control not only addresses current infestations but also establishes preventive measures, effectively safeguarding your property against future challenges. 

Benefit from High-Tech Commercial Rodent Control with Empire Cleaning & Pest Control

Empire Cleaning and Pest Control offers highly efficient, IT-based solutions for rodent control. Unlike traditional methods, which can be hits or misses, Empire’s expert pest control staff deploys smart technologies to detect and eliminate rodent activity. For example, you can have your site surveilled with Empire’s sensor-based monitoring device that can operate non-stop for 24 hours to track rats. This rat-detector box will collect data on rodent movements and email the information directly to you without requiring a physical presence at the site. This not only reduces the costs of rodent control by minimising the need for labour-intensive monitoring but can also make detection and prevention more effective and accurate. Get in touch with Empire’s customer service representatives to learn more about how your business can benefit from our rodent control solutions. 


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