Nearly 300 people have fallen ill in Singapore after eating food from a catering company.

Two incidents affected 284 people who reported symptoms after consuming food prepared by Rasel Catering Singapore between Nov. 8 and 16.

The Ministry of Health said patients either sought outpatient treatment, treated themselves, or recovered without help and none were hospitalized. The agency told the company that two staff members were infected by norovirus and one tested positive for Salmonella infection.

Operations halted

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) suspended operations at Rasel Catering Singapore until further notice. The caterer is required to clean and sanitize the premises, including equipment and utensils, and dispose of all ready-to-eat and perishable food items.

All food handlers working at the premises need to re-attend and pass a food safety course and test negative for foodborne pathogens before they can resume work. The appointed food hygiene officer at the site must re-attend and pass a food safety course before they can go back to work.

SFA said operators must observe good food and personal hygiene practices at all times and added it would not hesitate to take action against anyone violating the Environmental Public Health Act.

Rasel Catering apologized to affected clients and said it was still conducting preliminary investigations while assisting SFA and MOH in their investigations.

“At Rasel, the well-being of our clients is of paramount priority. We will heighten our vigilance in upholding hygiene and cleanliness practices and standards. We understand this incident has posed significant discomfort and inconvenience to the affected clients. We wish the affected clients a speedy recovery,” said a company statement.

Penalty after outbreak

Meanwhile, in October, Lao Huo Tang Group Pte, licensee of ENG’s Wanton Noodles, was fined $3,300 (U.S. $2,400) in court for selling food unfit for consumption.

In May 2021, the SFA received complaints involving 68 people who had suspected gastroenteritis symptoms after consuming food at one of ENG’s Wanton Noodles sites.

An investigation with the Ministry of Health found that ready-to-eat food items such as char siew and Choi sim did not comply with the microbiological limits in the Singapore Food Regulations. SFA suspended operations at the branch of ENG’s Wanton Noodles from mid-May to late June 2021.

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