Taj Catering cleared to resume operations one month after gastroenteritis cases

Taj Catering cleared to resume operations one month after gastroenteritis cases

Catering food generic
File photo of a buffet. (Photo: Unsplash/Asiya Kiev)

SINGAPORE: Taj Catering was cleared to resume operations on Friday (Dec 13), more than a month after its licence was suspended due to hygiene lapses.

The caterer had its licence suspended after 29 people fell ill with gastroenteritis symptoms, with one person hospitalised, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said last month.

In an update on Friday, the authorities said seven people fell ill after consuming food from Taj Catering on Nov 2.

When MOH and SFA inspected the caterer's premises on Nov 6, they found multiple hygience lapses, prompting them to suspend Taj Catering the following day "to protect consumers from further public health risks".

Rodent droppings and food scraps were found in several areas of the kitchen, said MOH and SFA in a release on Friday.

Knives meant for raw and ready-to-eat food were stored together, meat was not thawed properly and non-food items were not correctly stored in the dry store, they said.

The caterer's freezers were also dirty and maintained at the wrong temperature, and an inaccurate thermometer was used to measure the temperature of the chillers, they added.

During the suspension period, Taj Catering complied with measures stipulated by the SFA, said the authorities.

It disposed all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items, and also cleaned its premises.

It also submitted plans on "enhanced food safety regimes", including rodent control plans and methods to ensure staff practise good food hygiene and preparation at all times, said the authorities.

Food handlers involved in food preparation have since reattended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene course, they said. 

The caterer's food hygiene officer has also undergone retraining and passed the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit course.

Following the lifting of suspension, the SFA said it will take enforcement action against the caterer for the lapses found.

"SFA will continue to place Taj Catering under close surveillance to ensure that it adheres to what they have submitted in their plans," said the release.

Source: CNA/nc(aj)