SINGAPORE: Stamford Catering has had its food hygiene grade cut to "C" after 52 people fell ill with gastroenteritis symptoms.
One person was hospitalised after consuming the food on Mar 2. All of those affected have since recovered, said the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) on Tuesday (Jul 9) in a notice on its website.
Authorities inspected Stamford Catering's premises at 24A Senoko South Road on Mar 5 and found several hygiene lapses.
"A high bacterial load was detected in food and environmental samples, which could be contributing factors for the outbreak," said SFA.
"This indicates poor personal and food hygiene practices. SFA also found hygiene lapses such as poor housekeeping of appliances during its inspection."
Stamford Catering has since rectified the lapses, the agency added.
DRAWING LESSONS FROM THE LAPSES
In response to CNA's queries, Stamford Catering said: "The safety and well-being of our customers (are) of utmost importance to us and we draw lessons from these lapses.
"In the weeks immediately after the incident, we engaged professionals for thorough cleaning of the kitchen, the end result of which was audited by external parties to ensure hygiene standards were met.
"All food handlers who worked in our kitchen on the date of the incident also underwent a compulsory Basic Food Hygiene refresher course."
The caterer said it has "strengthened" its regular routine to adhere to stricter health protocols and to "enhance food safety".
This includes a weekly audit by the quality assurance team to ensure its practices are in line with guidelines set by the authorities and monthly lab tests of food samples are carried out to check the effectiveness of the food safety management system.
The caterer said additional hand sanitisers have been introduced, together with the use of antibacterial fruit and vegetable wash to reduce microbial levels on treated foodstuffs.
"With these in place, Stamford Catering hopes to regain a better grading during the next review. We also wish to express our apologies to affected customers," it said.
"The company had taken care of their medical bills resulting from the incident."
This is the latest in a series of recent food poisoning cases involving caterers.
In May, Elsie’s Kitchen was also downgraded after 52 people reported symptoms of gastroenteritis.
CNA has reached out to SFA for more information.