Lunch box
Food poisoning from catered food (Representational picture) Pixabay

National Environmental Agency (NEA) suspended a caterer after a food poisoning incident took place at four Sparkletots preschools in Sengkang Central that affected more than 100 pupils.

The preschools, which are located at Sengkang Central Blocks 210, 270, 290A and 298B served catered food, prepared by Kate's Catering to the children. A total of 109 pupils from four PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots preschools suffered from gastroenteritis or stomach flu.

As reported among all the affected children, 15 pre-school students were taken to the hospital due to the health issues on March 26 and nine of them are yet to be discharged.

A 36-year-old parent, Joey Phoon told The New Paper that her daughter, who is 18 months old, suffered from diarrhoea and developed a high fever, which was 40.3 degrees Celsius. The parent also added that the symptoms started to appear after she consumed the catered food on March 21.

As per Sparkletots, the caterer serves a total of 11 of their preschool centres but the school authority has already suspended the food delivery service from all of the centres.

Later, the Ministry of Health (MOH), Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and NEA said in a joint statement that they are currently investigating the food poisoning case.

The officials who took charge of the case investigated the caterer's premises on March 22, the food handlers were sent for stool screenings and samples of food and environment were collected for further testing.

Later on March 25, NEA announced that they have ordered Kate's Catering to stop their operation from Match 26.

However, the school authority said that they are currently communicating with the family of the affected children. They also informed the parents that the authority has carried out cleaning and disinfection in the centres and in terms of the preparing meal, the PCF Sparkletots has decided to hire an in-house cook with the requisite certification or from other NEA certified food caterers.

The accused caterer and PCF Sparkletots authority are currently assisting the investigators.