‘I don’t know how to face my friends and relatives’ Dozens ill after wedding banquet in Singapore

Jeffrey Sivalingam, 61, the father of the bride, told The New Paper yesterday an eight-course meal had been catered for more than 400 guests.

After contacting them yesterday, the retiree said many of them had told him about falling ill after the banquet.

“About four people from each table fell ill as well as some entire tables,” he said.

“I didn’t expect this and now I don’t know how to face my friends and relatives.”

Mr Sivalingam said he was warded at Tan Tock Seng Hospital with his son after they developed fever, and that at least three youngsters, including his 16-year-old niece, were also warded.

A wedding guest, Mr Matthew Tjow, 40, said he and his three children started vomiting and having diarrhoea on Monday.

The counsellor added: “My daughter, who is in Primary 1, vomited from the hall to the toilet. She has kept vomiting and is looking as frail as a rag doll.”

He said the other two, aged 12 and 10, also vomited and had diarrhoea and fever. His wife also started showing symptoms last night.

The spokesman said staff who handled food during the banquet events have been “temporarily relieved of duties” until they complete all necessary medical tests and are cleared by the relevant authorities.

The hotel will also cease serving raw food from its banquet kitchens during the investigation.

Mr Sivalingam hopes to warn the public about such incidents.

“I am not interested in compensation from the hotel. I am interested in the well-being of our guests,” he said.

Singapore: 1 dead, 72 sick from Spize restaurant

The Sats officer who fell sick after consuming food from popular restaurant Spize has died on Wednesday (Nov 14).

Mr Fadli Salleh, who was married with two young children, had been in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) after he was one of 72 people who suffered gastroenteritis, allegedly after eating bento boxes prepared by Spize’s River Valley outlet for an event last Tuesday. (the raw egg looks like a Salmonella factory).

 

The party was for a Deepavali celebration organised by security company Brink’s Singapore and held on its premises at Kaki Bukit.

Mr Fadli attended the gathering as he was deployed to Brink’s Singapore, though the event itself did not involve Sats.

A Sats spokesman said: “We are providing support to the family during this sad and difficult time. Please approach Brinks if you have further questions.”

 

Brinks offered its condolences to Mr Fadli’s family and said it it was “deeply saddened” that an employee of its business partner died.

 

A joint statement by the National Environment Agency (NEA), MOH and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority last Friday said the authorities were notified of the cases last Wednesday and they conducted a joint investigation that day.

Spize’s 409 River Valley Road branch’s licence was suspended at 7pm that evening.

 

The statement added that they were investigating several cases of gastroenteritis traced to the consumption of food prepared at the restaurant.

 

“Several hygiene lapses were observed, including leaving ready-to-eat food uncovered in a chiller, not providing soap for hand washing (soap dispenser was faulty) and slotting knives for preparing ready-to-eat food in the gap between the food preparation tables,” said the statement.

Spize had supplied 88 bento sets to Brink’s Singapore and Spize’s co-owner Mr Haresh Sabnani had told The Straits Times on Wednesday before news of Mr Fadli’s death was confirmed that “on that day, 221 bento sets were sent to six different locations, but only that one location was affected”.

Surveys still suck: Restaurant inspection disclosure in Singapore

The aim of this study was to examine the consumer use of Singapore’s letter-based grading information disclosure system and its influence on dining establishment choice.

We used data from a national survey of 1533 households collected from 2012 to 2013 in Singapore to assess (i) the proportion of adults who refer to the letter grade before dining and (ii) the impact of the letter grade on their willingness to dine at an establishment. We used multivariable logistic regression to account for the independent effects of socio-demographic factors. The proportion of respondents who referred to a letter grade before dining was 64.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 62.1%, 66.9%). Propensity for referral differed by dining frequency, ethnicity and employment.

Fewer respondents were willing to dine at a ‘C’ (lower) graded establishment [10.3% (95% CI = 8.8%, 11.8%)] compared to a ‘B’ graded establishment [85.3% (95% CI = 83.5%, 87.0%)]. Willingness to dine at a ‘C’ graded establishment differed by dining frequency, housing type and citizenship. The letter-based grading information disclosure system in Singapore is commonly used among Singaporeans and influences establishment choice.

Our findings suggest that information disclosure systems can be an effective tool in influencing consumer establishment choice and may be useful to help improve food safety in retail food establishments. The implementation of such information disclosure systems should be considered in other countries where it has yet to be introduced and be periodically assessed for its effectiveness and to identify areas requiring improvements.

Use of the letter-based grading information disclosure system and its influence on dining establishment choice in Singapore: A cross-sectional study

Food Control, Volume 90, August 2018, Pages 105-112, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2018.02.038

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713518300847

 

Singapore: y’know, don’t hurl the contents of your stomach in public

Another serial vomiter story, this time from Coconuts Singapore, but with the risk communication tagline, “y’know, don’t hurl the contents of your stomach in public.”

The residents at Pinnacle@Duxton’s Block 1C have a whole ‘other level of revolting (and downright strange) situation to handle — piles of vomit at random places at the car park and the common area, as many as three to four times a week. The case of the serial vomiter at the Tanjong Pagar estate has gotten so bad that even the town council had to step in a few months ago with posters that say, y’know, don’t hurl the contents of your stomach in public.

According to Channel NewsAsia, the Tanjong Pagar town council received a complaint last year about the recurring problem of vomiting at the common area of that one particular block.

“Town Council put up the poster as an educational tool to deter this anti-social behavior as well as to seek residents’ assistance to contact the Town Council if they know who had committed this act,” said the town council’s vice-chairman in a typical politically correct tone to CNA.

Singapore rocked by 5 separate outbreaks at eateries

Clara Chong of The Straits Times writes that good food can be passed off as food worth eating – only if it is safe to consume.

TTdurianpuff-goodwoodThe current case involves Pow Sing restaurant, which, as of July 12, had 29 verified cases of gastroenteritis and investigations are currently ongoing.

This is just the latest case of a food establishment being suspended after outbreaks of food poisoning among its diners.

Here is a look at the five most recent cases.

  1. Pow Sing Restaurant

Pow Sing restaurant and its sister eatery Pow Sing Kitchen at Serangoon Gardens had their licences suspended indefinitely on July 13 after the authorities became aware of at least 29 cases of gastroenteritis, otherwise known as gastric flu, that were linked to the eatery.

An inspection on July 5 threw up several food lapses, such as the failure to maintain temperature records and allowing an unregistered food handler to prepare food.

Pow Sing, which sells zi char or cooked food in addition to chicken rice, has been told to dispose of all food and completely sanitise the kitchen.

  1. Pek Kio Food Centre

With more than 180 cases of gastroenteritis reported, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre in Owen Road area had to be closed on May 25 for a thorough cleaning and disinfection, including disinfection of dining tables, chairs, food preparation surfaces, walls and floors, for two days.

  1. Kuisine Catering

Poor hygiene standards at Kuisine Catering are a likely cause of a mass food-poisoning incident last February, resulting in 231 people falling ill, with five of those affected requiring in-patient medical treatment.

Investigations by the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Health and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority concluded that food poisoning was likely due to Salmonella enteritidis.

  1. Goodwood Durian Pastries

Goodwood Park Hotel’s food establishment licence was suspended on April 22 after 76 cases of food poisoning were linked to its durian pastries.

singapore-food2But on May 3, it was revealed that up 183 cases may be linked to the hotel’s hugely popular durian pastries.

Further investigations revealed that lapses in food handling in the durian pastry kitchen were to blame. All food handlers had to undergo medical screening and retraining on safe food handling practices

  1. GBS infection from raw fish dishes

In December 2015, stalls were no longer allowed to sell Chinese-style raw fish dishes such as raw fish porridge due to its link with an aggressive strain of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria.

The outbreak, caused by the Type III GBS ST283 strain, is the largest of its kind in the world, with about 360 cases of GBS infections since January 2015 and about 150 cases linked to the consumption of Chinese-style raw fish dishes that use freshwater fish.

This ban extended to hawker centres, coffee shops, canteens, food courts and caterers but left out restaurants, which generally observed hygiene standards.

The ban on using such freshwater fish remains in force until further notice.

At least 29 sick: Singapore restaurant suspended for links to outbreak

The Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA), and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are investigating several cases Pow Sing Restaurantof gastroenteritis reported between 4 and 11 July 2016, traced to the consumption of food prepared at Pow Sing Restaurant, located at 63-65 Serangoon Garden Way. As of 12 July 2016, a total of 29 cases were verified to be affected, and further investigations are ongoing.

Laboratory tests are ongoing.

MOH has collected stool samples from the affected cases and the restaurant’s food handlers have been sent for stool screening. Only food handlers who are tested to be free of food poisoning pathogens, and have re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene Course will be allowed to resume work. MOH and NEA will continue to monitor the situation.

Salmonella in Singapore

Lim Jia Qi of Channel News Asia reports that when Mdm Chia started having abdominal pain, she thought it was nothing serious. She took some painkillers, thinking that the pain would go away. But instead, she vomited twice and had diarrhea up to 10 times within a day.

vomit.toilet“I have no idea what I ate because Singapore is very clean and I just ate normal food like those at the food court and I didn’t go overseas at all,” said Mdm Chia.

Mdm Chia was admitted to hospital the next day and was diagnosed with salmonella gastroenteritis on May 8. The condition is caused by a food-borne pathogen that can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever.

Mdm Chia is one of the 1,042 people infected by salmonella so far this year. According to data published by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on its website, the number of people infected has increased over the years. Since 2012, the cases have risen by about 30 per cent to about 2,000 in 2015. The trend looks set to continue, with the number of cases so far in 2016 exceeding the 779 that were reported between January and Jun 20 last year.

In a statement to Channel NewsAsia, an MOH spokesperson said human salmonellosis is generally associated with the consumption of contaminated poultry, meat and eggs.

The spokesperson added that the ministry is working closely with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the National Environment Agency to monitor the situation and better understand the reasons behind the increase.

231 sickened with Salmonella in Singapore

Salmonella contamination has been determined as the cause of mass food poisoning among 231 people who ate food prepared by Kuisine Catering in February

raw.eggsInitial reports said that about 130 people were known to have become ill after consuming food from the caterer, but a total of 231 are now linked to the case.

The alarm was first sounded when 33 people fell ill after a birthday party in February. Later, more affected consumers said they experienced vomiting and had diarrhorea after consuming food prepared by the caterer from Feb 12 to 14.

In its latest report, Lianhe Wanbao reported that the company has since shut its business, and its signboard has been removed from the space it occupied in Jurong.

According to the Chinese daily, authorities found that the eggs used by the company were contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis, which can be caused by improper food handling.

A probe also found that there were expired food items in the kitchen, and that the company did not keep temperature records for its freezers and chillers.

183 now sick from fancy Durian pastries in Singapore

Another 100 cases of food poisoning have been linked to the consumption of durian pastries prepared at Goodwood Park Hotel.

TTdurianpuff-goodwoodAs of May 3, a total of 183 people have come down with food poisoning after eating the pastries, according to a joint statement issued on Thursday (May 5) by the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

This is an increase of 107 cases from the 76 previously reported.

The hotel’s bakery licence, which has been suspended since Apr 22, has not yet been restored. The suspension will continue to be in force until the lapses that might have contributed to the outbreak have been rectified, the Government agencies said.

Goodwood Park Hotel has previously said that it treats all matters related to food safety standards “very seriously”.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Durian pastries sicken 76 in Singapore

Goodwood Park Hotel’s bakery has had its food establishment licence suspended after 76 cases of food poisoning were linked to its popular durian pastries.

T&Tdurianpuff-goodwoodThe Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) investigated after the first incident was reported on March 15.

The ministry inspected the bakery after a second incident was reported on April 4. Joint investigations were conducted by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), MOH and NEA on April 13 after more incidents were reported.

Though lapses in food handling were discovered, there were no hygiene lapses or pests found. The AVA also did not find lapses in safety from food suppliers.

Stool samples from the affected parties as well as food handlers are currently being screened by MOH, and only handlers who have been certified medically fit will resume work after the bakery reopens.

All food handlers will also be required to retake and pass the Basic Food Hygiene course.

The hotel is required to clean and sanitise the bakery, including equipment, utensils, work surfaces and toilets, as well as rectify the identified food preparation lapses.

Goodwood Park Hotel has apologised to its guests and said it is cooperating with the agencies. “We would like to assure the public and all our guests that we treat all matters relating to food safety standards very seriously,” it said in a Facebook post, adding that it is sourcing alternatives to the affected desserts from “reputable establishments”.

“Goodwood Park’s durian pastries, especially the puffs, are dependably good and the hotel comes up with new offerings every year, so this comes as a real surprise,” said Ms Tan Hsueh Yun, food editor for The Straits Times Life section.