Children, teachers fall ill after food poisoning incident at camp; caterer under investigation

Children, teachers fall ill after food poisoning incident at camp; caterer under investigation

FoodTalks Caterer and Manufacturer
FoodTalks Caterer and Manufacturer in Bedok. 

SINGAPORE: FoodTalks Caterer and Manufacturer is under investigation after more than 130 children and teachers at a kids' camp fell ill after consuming food prepared by the caterer on Monday (Nov 26).

The Passport to P1 camp was held by Learning Horizon, a subsidiary of global childcare group Busy Bees.

It is understood that the children affected were from several pre-schools under the Busy Bees group, including Learning Vision, Pat’s Schoolhouse, Brighton Montessori and Small Wonder.

Screengrab from rushes showing letter to Busy Bees parents
A letter to parents from Busy Bees Singapore.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health, National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore said they were investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis "traced to the consumption of food" prepared by FoodTalks.

As of Tuesday, 131 people were reported to have developed symptoms of gastroenteritis, said the authorities, adding that none of them were hospitalised.

Of those who fell ill, 115 were children and 16 were teachers.

READ: NEA suspends TungLok Catering at Singapore Expo after 190 people fall ill

Authorities said they conducted a joint inspection of the caterer's premises in Bedok. As part of the investigations, food handlers were sent for stool screening. Food and environmental samples were taken for testing.

The camp was immediately suspended after the food safety incident, said Busy Bees Singapore in a media statement on Tuesday.

"We are aware of a food safety incident affecting some of our K2 children and teachers, who felt unwell after consuming food prepared by an external caterer at a camp yesterday," said Busy Bees director of operations and curriculum Ronald Kwong.

"Upon learning of this, we immediately suspended the camp and reported the incident to the Ministry of Health, NEA and ECDA (Early Childhood Development Agency), with whom we will continue to cooperate with to determine the cause."

READ: SATS officer who consumed food from Spize dies; 9 others still in hospital

Mr Kwong added that all those affected received medical attention and no one had to be admitted to hospital.

Busy Bees is also in touch with parents "to provide any support they need", he said.

Camp fees will be refunded and all medical expenses incurred will be borne by the insurers.

This is the third reported case of mass food poisoning in recent weeks.

On Saturday, the catering arm of restaurant group TungLok had its licence at Max Atria @ Singapore Expo suspended, after 190 people fell ill with symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Two weeks ago, a SATS officer who fell ill after consuming food from restaurant chain Spize died. He was among 81 people who fell sick after eating food supplied by Spize's River Valley outlet.

The licences of TungLok Catering and Spize’s River Valley outlet remain suspended.

Source: CNA/nc/nh(hm/gs)

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