Pow Sing Restaurant at Serangoon Gardens suspended as 29 cases of gastric flu surface

Pow Sing Restaurant has been suspended for links to outbreak of gastroenteritis.
Pow Sing Restaurant has been suspended for links to outbreak of gastroenteritis.PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES FILE

SINGAPORE - Several cases of gastroenteritis reported at Pow Sing Restaurant are being investigated, the authorities said on Wednesday (July 13).

Commonly known as gastric flu, the illness can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also suspended the licence of the Serangoon Garden Way restaurant.

Between July 4 and 11, 29 cases were reported at the restaurant, said a press release jointly issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and NEA.

"As of 12 July 2016, a total of 29 cases were verified to be affected, and further investigations are ongoing," it said.

Several hygiene lapses, including failure to maintain temperature records and allowing an unregistered food handler to prepare food, were observed during inspections on July 5, authorities said.

The operator was told to rectify them immediately.

The authorities were informed of four more cases on July 11.

"There is reason to suspect that there might be a continuing source of infection in the premises," they said.

Besides having its licence suspended, the restaurant is required to "dispose all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items".

It is also to conduct thorough cleaning and sanitising of its premises including equipment, utensils, work surfaces and toilets.

In addition, it is to review and rectify the lapses in food preparation processes identified during the joint inspections.

The authorities are conducting further investigations.

AVA has collected food samples from Pow Sing Restaurant, as part of the investigation. Laboratory tests are ongoing, the release said.

MOH has collected stool samples from the affected cases and the restaurant's food handlers have been sent for stool screening.

Only food handlers who are tested to be free of food poisoning pathogens, and have reattended and passed the basic food hygiene course will be allowed to resume work.

NEA said it will take the necessary enforcement actions against the operator for the hygiene infringements.

Last month, there was an outbreak of gastroenteritis cases in the Owen Road area, which led to a two-day closure of Pek Kio Market and Food Centre for cleaning and disinfection.

Members of the public can report errant food retail outlets by calling 1800-CALL-NEA (1800-2255-632).