131 fall ill in third mass food-poisoning case this month

(PHOTO: Getty Images)

In the third case of mass food poisoning this month, 131 people – including kindergarten pupils and teachers – fell ill on Monday (26 November) after consuming food from a caterer while attending a learning camp.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said they are investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis – inflammation of the stomach and intestines which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Outbreak traced to Bedok-based caterer

The outbreak was traced to the consumption of food prepared by FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer, located at Shimei East Kitchen along Bedok North Street 5. The three authorities carried out a joint inspection of the premises on Tuesday, with food and environmental samples taken for testing and food handlers being sent for stool screening.

According to Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, the food poisoning victims had attended a learning camp organised by Busy Bees Asia. Organisers said that the camp was stopped immediately upon the outbreak of food poisoning.

As of Tuesday, 131 cases of gastroenteritis had been reported. None of the victims have been hospitalised.

Three mass food-poisoning incidents this month

This is the third case of mass food-poisoning incidents that have been traced to catered food this month.

On 9 November, NEA announced the licence suspension of Spize Restaurant at River Valley Road after 81 cases of gastroenteritis were traced to bento-box meals prepared by the Asian fusion restaurant for an event. A 38-year-old man died after suffering the illness, while at least 45 people were hospitalised.

On 23 November, 190 people fell ill after eating food prepared by TungLok Catering for the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s public exhibition Lifesavers’ Connect at the Max Atria@Singapore Expo. None of the 190 affected were hospitalised.

What to do when suffering gastroenteritis

Should one be afflicted with gastroenteritis, here are some dietary precautions to take, according to the Department of Family Medicine at Singapore General Hospital:

  • Avoid milk and dairy products for a few weeks to prevent worsening of diarrhoea symptoms
  • Rest the bowel by avoiding foods that are high in fibre or high in fat
  • Adequate hydration is necessary to treat diarrhoea, and this can be achieved by drinking barley or rice water with a sprinkle of salt or with the aid of oral rehydration salt tablets/sachets

Related stories:

NEA suspends licence of Tung Lok Catering at Singapore Expo after reports of illnesses

Man dies after gastroenteritis outbreak at Spize Restaurant at River Valley

Spize Restaurant at River Valley suspended amid 49 gastroenteritis cases