SINGAPORE - Food delivery company Grain's chief executive has apologised for the hygiene lapse that gave 20 people gastroenteritis and prompted the National Environment Agency to downgrade its food hygiene grade from "A" to "C".
According to an advisory on the NEA website, 20 people made reports on May 15 this year saying they had gastroenteritis symptoms after eating food provided by Grain, headquartered at the Tee Yih Jia Food Building at 5 Burn Road.
Gastroenteritis, where the stomach and intestines are irritated and inflamed, produces symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting.
NEA investigated and adjusted Grain's food hygiene grade to "C", effective from Friday (July 14).
Grain CEO Yi Sung Yong said in a post on online publishing platform Medium.com on Friday that the company "made a mistake".
"We reduced the usual simmering time for our Thai Green Curry," he said. "This was done to avoid the coconut milk from splitting and making the dish too oily, a regular customer feedback. This resulted in the dish spoiling quicker than usual."
He said a number of customers had already eaten the dish by the time a customer pointed out that the curry tasted funny. Grain "immediately removed this dish to avoid further consumption".
He said Grain's customer recovery team worked closely with affected customers, "taking full ownership of what went wrong and (providing) compensation".
Grain has been working closely with the NEA, the Ministry of Health and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to rectify the situation, he said.
The food delivery company took several measures after this episode, including updating its processes with monthly lab tests of food samples, water and air quality.
Grain said in a statement released on Friday that it was "sincerely apologetic for the distress caused, and we hope that this does not stop us from achieving its mission to make great food accessible for everyone".
Its food hygiene grade will be reviewed in 12 months, and NEA said it would keep the premises under surveillance meanwhile.