Last month, 81 people came down with gastroenteritis after eating bento boxes prepared by Spize Restaurant in River Valley for a Deepavali celebration. Sats officer Fadli Salleh, 38, fell ill and died after eating a Spize bento box prepared for a Deepavali celebration organised by security company Brink’s Singapore and held on its premises at Kaki Bukit on Nov 6.
A 38-year-old Sats officer died and at least 45 people were hospitalised after consuming the food.
Eighteen days later, on Nov 24, 190 people fell ill after eating food prepared by TungLok Catering at a Singapore Civil Defence Force event.
Then on Nov 26, 131 kindergarten pupils and teachers had food poisoning after eating meals prepared by FoodTalks Caterer and Manufacturer while attending a kids’ camp.
And hopefully lastly, banquet operations at Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s main ballroom were suspended with immediate effect after 175 people fell ill with food poisoning and nine were hospitalised.
A joint statement by the MOH, NEA and AVA reported by the Straits Times revealed the results of investigations on blood and stool samples from those who fell ill, as well as of the raw and ready-to-eat food, and environmental samples from the Spize outlet.
What was surprising was that the samples showed they were closely related by genetic analysis. According to Jaclyn Reutens, a nutritionist from Aptima Nutrition this would mean a great likelihood that the bacterium was all spread by one single person working at the Spize outlet!
The report in Straits Times further added that in the ready-to-eat food, the salmonella bacterium was found in belacan egg fried rice. It was also found in raw chicken samples and kang kong.
That’s all it takes really- one single person who fails to observe food preparation and personal hygiene! Jaclyn adds: “If food handlers do not wear gloves, go to the washroom and not wash their hands adequately, they carry bacteria back to the kitchen. Wearing aprons to the washrooms, even if they wash their hands properly, the apron may have gotten into contact with faeces.”
So if you’re handling food or doing any food prep at all, please, make sure you maintain good personal hygiene practices when handling food!
By Kelvin Tan, Editor for Men’s Health Singapore. Image from Straits Times