Goodwood durian pastries: 183 food poisoning cases 'may be linked'

More people have come forward since news broke about bakery's licence being suspended, say govt agencies

A notice put up on April 22 to inform the public that Goodwood Park Hotel's bakery is closed, due to operational issues. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

A total of 183 food poisoning cases "could be linked" to the popular durian pastries prepared at Goodwood Park Hotel's bakery, as of May 3.

This was revealed yesterday in a joint statement by the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

Since the news of the bakery's licence being suspended broke in the media, more people have stepped forward to say that they, too, may have been affected after eating the durian pastries, said the agencies.

The bakery's food establishment licence was suspended from April 22, after 76 cases of food poisoning were linked to the durian pastries.

The hotel apologised to its guests then and said it was cooperating with the agencies.

After the first cluster of five cases was reported on March 15, MOH and NEA investigated but no hygiene lapses were found.

There were no other cases in the following weeks, so these were treated as isolated cases.

But about three weeks later, a second cluster of cases was reported.

MOH investigated, sending food samples for testing and food handlers for screening.

Later, more cases were reported from April 12, with increasing numbers during the week of April 18.

Joint investigations at the bakery by the three agencies on April 13 found some lapses in food handling in the durian pastry kitchen.

AVA also conducted upstream checks at the suppliers of food ingredients, including the durian pulp supplied to the hotel. No food safety lapses were found there.

Further investigations are ongoing.

NEA and MOH are working with the hotel to ensure that the kitchen is cleaned thoroughly, and that all food handlers undergo medical screening and are retrained on safe food handling practices.

Meanwhile, the bakery's suspension will remain in force until the lapses that might have contributed to the outbreak have been rectified, the agencies said.

Goodwood Park began offering durian desserts in 1983. Its durian- flavoured offerings have included puffs and cakes as well as seasonal treats like durian Christmas log cakes and mooncakes.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2016, with the headline Goodwood durian pastries: 183 food poisoning cases 'may be linked'. Subscribe