Caterer under probe over food poisoning at camp

The outbreak of food poisoning traced to the consumption of food prepared by FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer is currently being investigated.
The outbreak of food poisoning traced to the consumption of food prepared by FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer is currently being investigated.PHOTO: FOODTALKS CATERER & MANUFACTURER

A caterer is under investigation after 131 people, mostly children attending a holiday camp, fell ill following a lunch.

The kindergarten children came down with food poisoning on Monday (Nov 26) after eating packed meals prepared by FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer, which is located at Shimei East Kitchen in Bedok.

Of those affected, 115 were children and 16 were teachers.

The Straits Times understands they were given packets of fried macaroni.

In a joint statement, the National Environment Agency, Ministry of Health and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said they were investigating the case, which is the latest food poisoning incident in recent weeks.

Food handlers were sent for stool screening, and food and environmental samples were taken for testing.

Those who fell ill were attending a Passport to Primary 1 camp for six-year-olds. The three-day camp, which started on Monday (Nov 26), was organised by Learning Horizon, which runs enrichment camps. It is part of the Busy Bees Asia Group, which operates a few pre-school chains including Small Wonder and Brighton Montessori.

Parents who spoke to ST said children who attended the camp came from several schools under Busy Bees Asia.

In an e-mail sent to parents, a Learning Horizon spokesman said "more than 60 children and teachers" had vomited on Monday and added that the camp was suspended "with immediate effect". A full refund will be given to parents.

Busy Bees Asia's director of operations and curriculum Ronald Kwong said the company is working with the authorities to determine the cause of the food poisoning. "All affected have received the required medical attention, and none of our students or teachers had to be admitted to hospital and (all) were discharged within the same day," he said.

Ms Diyana Sudarsono's six-year-old daughter, who attended the Small Wonder pre-school in Sengkang, was among those affected.

Ms Sudarsono, 32, said her daughter felt unwell after eating fried macaroni for lunch. "She was quite lucky; she had a bit of abdominal cramps in the evening and the school told us to take her to a doctor," she said.

Her daughter was well enough to return to school the next day, but some of her friends had more severe symptoms.

A teacher from a pre-school which also participated in the camp said children from her centre have mostly recovered, and many of them returned to school on Tuesday (Nov 27). She declined to be named.

FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer declined to comment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2018, with the headline 'Caterer under probe over food poisoning at camp'. Print Edition | Subscribe