Fatal food poisoning: Delay in eating food from Spize may be factor, court told

Sats officer Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh (above) died on Nov 14 last year after he was hit by acute gastroenteritis. He had consumed food from restaurant Spize's River Valley outlet (right), whose operating licences have since been terminated.
Sats officer Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh died on Nov 14 last year after he was hit by acute gastroenteritis. He had consumed food from restaurant Spize's River Valley outlet (above), whose operating licences have since been terminated.ST FILE PHOTO
Sats officer Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh (above) died on Nov 14 last year after he was hit by acute gastroenteritis. He had consumed food from restaurant Spize's River Valley outlet (right), whose operating licences have since been terminated.
Sats officer Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh (above) died on Nov 14 last year after he was hit by acute gastroenteritis. He had consumed food from restaurant Spize's River Valley outlet, whose operating licences have since been terminated.ST FILE PHOTO

Sats officer ate more than three hours after food from popular restaurant Spize was delivered

A man who died after eating food from popular restaurant Spize had consumed it more than three hours after its delivery.

The coroner's court heard yesterday that the delay may have contributed to Mr Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh's death on Nov 14 last year.

The bento boxes were sent to the Kaki Bukit office of security company Brink's Singapore at 11.33am on Nov 6 last year, and an invoice from the eatery stated that the food had to be eaten within an hour of delivery.

The invoice also stated that Spize would not be liable for the health of those who consumed the food beyond the recommended time.

The court heard that Mr Fadli, 38, who was a Sats officer, ate the food after 2.53pm.

Mr Pream Raj Sinnasamy from the Ministry of Health's (MOH) communicable diseases division testified in court yesterday that food left at room temperature in Singapore's climate could provide a favourable condition for bacteria to proliferate.

When queried by State Counsel Gabriel Choong, Mr Pream Raj, assistant director of MOH's surveillance, epidemiology and response branch, added that it was "possible this gap between when the preparation was completed and consumption may have contributed to the death".

 
 
 
 

Mr Fadli, who was a father of two, died of sepsis and multiple organ failure on Nov 14 last year after he was hit by acute gastroenteritis.

The court heard that Spize's River Valley outlet prepared the bento boxes for a Deepavali celebration at Brink's Singapore's Kaki Bukit premises on Nov 6 last year.

Mr Fadli attended the gathering as he had been deployed to Brink's Singapore, though the event itself did not involve Sats.

In all, there were seven food poisoning incidents linked to Spize's River Valley outlet between Nov 6 and 9 last year. Of the 221 people who had consumed food prepared there during this period, 82 reported falling ill.

A joint inspection of the eatery on Nov 14 last year by the National Environment Agency (NEA), MOH as well as the then Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority revealed lapses. These included having seven unregistered food handlers and preparing food outside the licensed kitchen area.

An earlier joint inspection on Nov 7 last year found other lapses, such as leaving ready-to-eat food uncovered in a chiller and not providing soap for washing hands.

A commonly occurring bacterium, Salmonella typhimurium, was found in blood and stool samples from those who fell ill, as well as in the raw and ready-to-eat food and environmental samples taken from the outlet.

The NEA terminated the operating licences of the Spize restaurant in River Valley Road on Dec 7 last year. State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam will issue her findings on Aug 23.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2019, with the headline 'Fatal food poisoning: Delay in eating may be factor, court told'. Print Edition | Subscribe