Sakura Buffet’s licence cancelled due to food safety concerns, SFA warns against 12 linked firms

Catering firm Sakura Buffet’s licence cancelled after reports of undercooked & mouldy food, foreign objects

Sakura Buffet Pte Ltd, a catering firm, has had its licence cancelled by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

This was due to concerns over food safety, including undercooked and mouldy food, and foreign objects detected.

Source: Deon Li via Complaint Singapore on Facebook

SFA also warned against 12 web-based businesses linked to the company.

Sakura Buffet’s licence cancelled from 10 May

The cancellation of Sakura Buffet’s licence was announced in an SFA media release on Saturday (11 May).

It said that to protect consumers, the company’s licence to provide catering services was voided with effect from Friday (10 May).

Thus, Sakura Buffet is not allowed to operate at its licensed premises in Geylang Bahru.

SFA received complaints from late March

The case started in late March, when SFA received complaints about the safety of home-catered food provided by five web-based businesses.

The complaints included:

  • undercooked food
  • mouldy food
  • the presence of foreign matter in food such as hair and insects

Source: Deon Li via Complaint Singapore on Facebook

12 web-based businesses all supplied by Sakura Buffet

SFA discovered during its investigations that these five web-based businesses had all been supplied food by Sakura Buffet.

Seven more web-based businesses were also found to be linked to Sakura Buffet. The 12 businesses are:

Source: Singapore Food Agency on Facebook

SFA advised consumers not to place orders with these 12 web-based businesses.

Affected customers may also pursue the matter directly with the businesses or file a complaint with the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) or Small Claims Tribunals.

Sakura Buffet’s licence cancelled after four previous lapses: SFA

Between March and May, SFA inspected Sakura Buffet’s licenced premises in Geylang Bahru.

They uncovered several food safety lapses, including failure to keep the premises clean and false labelling of the time stamps of packed food.

Its food safety management system, which is required of catering businesses, was also poorly implemented, SFA said.

This was not the first time lapses were found at Sakura Buffet. Enforcement action was previously taken against them on four occasions between Nov 2023 and April 2024.

These were for “various food safety and hygiene lapses”, SFA added.

Despite these previous violations, SFA said:

The company was recalcitrant and failed to improve.

SFA is continuing investigations into the cases reported.

22 complaints about Sakura Buffet over three days

Also on Saturday, CASE president Melvin Yong said on Facebook that the consumer watchdog had received 22 consumer complaints over three days from 8 to 10 May.

All the complaints were linked to Sakura Buffet and its web-based businesses.

Among the complaints were that they failed to honour their meal deliveries and neglected to inform customers when they would honour their contractual obligations.

Source: Google Maps

Consumers should be entitled to a full refund of the unutilised balance of their contracted orders, Mr Yong added, saying:

The onus is on the company to comply with food safety and licensing requirements. It is also unclear when the business will be able to rectify its food safety issues and be allowed to operate again.

Those who require assistance with their disputes can call the CASE hotline at 6277 5100 or head to its website.

Customer has bad experience with web-based buisness

One of the customers affected was a woman named Deon Li, who posted in the Complaint Singapore Facebook group about her experience.

She had ordered confinement meals from Yu Mummy — one of the web-based businesses linked to Sakura Buffet — paying S$1,814 for 28 meals including lunch and dinner.

Unfortunately, 90% of the food she received was different from the menu, she said, and sometimes lunch wasn’t delivered.

Source: Deon Li via Complaint Singapore on Facebook

She also noted that a few meals included prawns and sambal fish, which isn’t suitable for confinement, and added:

Food taste real bad. Don’t know what I’m eating also… Sometimes the food look like left over too.

Worse still, she found insects in the food and was told they were “food ingredients”, she claimed.

Source: Deon Li via Complaint Singapore on Facebook

It was so bad that she started feeling “mentally down” before even opening the containers to eat the food.

Customer had ordered from them after reading good reviews

Ms Li, 40, told Lianhe Zaobao that she ordered from Yu Mummy after reading good reviews over the Internet.

However, the dishes she received often didn’t match the description, for example she once got economic noodles when she was supposed to get fried udon with black pepper.

Also despite requesting not to be served certain foods like eggs, chicken, shrimp and pumpkin for the time being, these products continued to appear in the meals delivered.

Source: Deon Li via Complaint Singapore on Facebook

Sometimes, the meal was delivered late or not at all, resulting in her having to buy food from the coffee shop downstairs.

There were also insects and other foreign objects in the food, which affected her mood during confinement.

Company blames supplier, offers extra meals

When Ms Li complained to Yu Mummy, it blamed their supplier for the discrepancy in the menu.

As for foreign objects and late deliveries, it offered extra meals as compensation.

However, she described the food as “already difficult to swallow” so she would rather have gotten a refund instead of more meals — but the company didn’t allow any refunds, which she said was “unreasonable”.

On 6 May, Ms Li updated her Facebook post to say that the company had told Zaobao she would get a refund about two weeks ago, but she had not received any updates since.

Also read: 19 people get gastroenteritis from food prepared by Bedok caterer, live cockroaches found on premises

19 people get gastroenteritis from food prepared by Bedok caterer, live cockroaches found on premises

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Featured image adapted from Deon Li via Complaint Singapore on Facebook.

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