SINGAPORE: The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has lifted the suspension on Kate's Catering, the catering company linked to more than 250 cases of food poisoning at 13 PCF Sparkletots preschools.
The agency said in a press release that it is satisfied that the measures required to "rectify the lapses" have been implemented by the company and operations can resume.
Kate’s Catering had its operating licence suspended for 52 days, from Mar 26 to May 16. This was implemented after the food poisoning outbreak at the pre-schools was traced to the consumption of the food prepared at Kate's Catering's premises.
SFA said there were 259 cases of food poisoning from 13 PCF Sparkletots pre-schools and PLAN Student Care Centre between Mar 19 and Mar 25. Of these, 33 were hospitalised and have since been discharged.
The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) said last month that all its pre-school centres previously served by external caterers would make a permanent shift to using in-house cooks.
The Ministry of Health and SFA conducted joint inspections on Mar 22 and Mar 26. The agencies identified several hygiene lapses, including the improper thawing of frozen meat and repeatedly transitioning between handling of ready-to-eat food and raw meat items.
There was also a lack of proper measures to check if food was cooked properly.
Inconsistencies were also found in cooking times to ensure thorough cooking and the staff’s understanding and differentiation of the use of knives for ready-to-eat and raw food.
Kate’s Catering has complied with measures set by the SFA during its suspension, the agency said. This includes the disposal of all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items.
“The licensee has also cleaned and sanitised its premises, including its equipment and utensils," SFA said.
“The licensee also submitted its plans on enhanced food safety regimes, including plans to processes to ensure that its staff practise good food hygiene and proper food preparation at all times."
SFA added that the company’s staff have since re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene course. The Food Hygiene Officer for Kate's Catering has also undergone training and passed the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit course.
"SFA is currently reviewing the findings of the investigations and will take appropriate action against the licensee for the lapses found," the agency said.
"Following the lifting of its suspension, SFA will also place Kate’s Catering under close surveillance to ensure that the licensee adheres to what they have submitted in their plans."