A caterer has been fined after a food poisoning outbreak in 2018 in Singapore that affected more than 60 people, hospitalizing 45.

Spize and Spize Events were convicted of 14 offenses and fined S$32,000 (U.S $24,000).

In November 2018, food contaminated with Salmonella was supplied by Spize to Brink’s Singapore for a company event. A total of 96 people ate the food that came in 88 bento sets and 63 of them then developed gastroenteritis symptoms. In total, 45 people needed hospital treatment.

The court handed an S$10,000 (U.S. $7,500) fine to Spize for possession of food unfit for human consumption relating to what it supplied to Brink’s.

The operating licenses of Spize at River Valley Road and Spize Events were cancelled in December 2018. The two firms were charged in court for violations of the Environmental Public Health Act.

One person, Mohamad Fadli Bin Mohd Saleh, an auxiliary police officer consumed the food and died eight days later because of sepsis and multi-organ failure following acute gastroenteritis. However, there was insufficient evidence to link his death to the negligence of any particular individual so no charges were filed.

Inspection findings
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said it conducts regular inspections of food retail outlets and will take enforcement action against operators who fail to comply with food safety regulations.

SFA added food operators also play a critical role in public health and safety, and must ensure food safety regulations are adhered to at all times. This includes having the infrastructure and trained expertise to ensure safe preparation, handling and sale of food.

In a joint inspection at Spize Restaurant on River Valley Road in November 2018, some hygiene issues were found. These included leaving ready-to-eat (RTE) food uncovered in a chiller, not providing soap for handwashing and slotting knives for preparing RTE food in the gap between food preparation tables.

Several irregularities were identified during the visit, including unregistered food handlers, preparation of food outside the licensed kitchen area, and poor personal hygiene and food preparation practices of staff.

Salmonella Typhimurium was isolated from the clinical samples of some affected cases, raw and RTE food, and environmental samples from the premises. All of the isolates were closely related to each other by genetic analysis, suggesting they were from the same source.

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