2nd Pow Sing eatery suspended over food poisoning

Four days after chicken rice eatery Pow Sing Restaurant was suspended after customers reported falling sick, its sister shop a few units away also suffered the same fate.

It was announced yesterday that Pow Sing Kitchen's licence has been suspended until further notice by the National Environment Agency (NEA), after 10 suspected cases of gastroenteritis were reported by its patrons.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also said yesterday that the problem at Pow Sing Restaurant seemed to have affected more people. It revealed that 84 verified reports of gastroenteritis were linked to consumption of food from that restaurant.

When the NEA suspended the licence of Pow Sing Restaurant on July 13, there were at least 29 reports of gastroenteritis.

When contacted, Pow Sing Kitchen's director, Mr Lee Chin Soo, declined to comment. "I cannot answer any questions on this. You need to go and talk to the NEA," he said.

In their statement yesterday, the NEA, MOH and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said they were suspending Serangoon Gardens eatery Pow Sing Kitchen as a precautionary measure.

"Similar to the suspension of Pow Sing Restaurant, NEA has required the operator of Pow Sing Kitchen to dispose all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items, conduct thorough cleaning and sanitising of its premises, including equipment, utensils, work surfaces and toilet, while investigations are ongoing to ascertain the cause or contributing factors to the outbreak," said the statement.

The AVA has collected food samples from the eatery and will be conducting checks on the restaurant's supplies. Laboratory tests are ongoing, said the statement.

Meanwhile, the MOH will collect stool samples from the affected people, and Pow Sing Kitchen's food handlers will be sent for stool screening.

"Only food handlers who are tested to be free of food poisoning pathogens, and have re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene Course will be allowed to resume work. MOH and NEA will continue to monitor the situation closely," said the agencies.

The NEA said it would take enforcement action if any hygiene infringements are found.

"Licensed food operators have the responsibility to put in place systems and processes to ensure high hygiene standards are observed by their food handlers at all times. Food operators are also reminded to ensure that all food handlers are registered with the NEA and that they do not engage in any food preparation if they are sick," said the agency.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 17, 2016, with the headline '2nd Pow Sing eatery suspended over food poisoning'. Print Edition | Subscribe