Kids at 3 more PCF Sparkletots centres fall ill with food poisoning

The number of PCF Sparkletots centres affected by food poisoning now stands at seven, including this one at Block 290A in Sengkang Central.
The number of PCF Sparkletots centres affected by food poisoning now stands at seven, including this one at Block 290A in Sengkang Central.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Children from three more PCF Sparkletots centres have displayed symptoms of food poisoning, a PCF spokesman said yesterday, a day after the authorities disclosed that they were investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis at four other such centres.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also announced that, as at 4pm on Wednesday, the number of reported cases rose to 184, from 109 previously. The number of centres with affected children now stands at seven.

Nine of the victims are in hospital, in stable condition.

All four centres named on Wednesday are located in Sengkang Central, at Blocks 210, 270, 290A and 298B.

Yesterday, the PCF spokesman said that children at two other centres in Sengkang Central, at Blocks 262A and 208, as well as another at Punggol North, have displayed symptoms of food poisoning.

The spokesman said that PCF is in close contact with the parents of those affected and is monitoring the children's condition.

PCF will continue to provide the relevant support for all affected parties, he added.

On Wednesday, the pre-school operator said a total of 11 centres, including the seven affected, were served by Kate's Catering.

 
 
 
 

The caterer has been suspended for an indefinite period, and PCF said it has arranged for meals to be provided by a certified in-house cook for the time being.

The authorities were notified of the first cluster of cases last Friday, and an inspection of the caterer's premises was conducted on the same day.

On Monday, additional clusters were reported, prompting the National Environment Agency (NEA) to instruct Kate's Catering to suspend its operations with effect from Tuesday, pending investigations by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore, MOH and NEA.

As part of the investigations, food handlers were sent for stool screening, and food and environmental samples were taken for testing.

When contacted by The Straits Times, a spokesman for Kate's Catering said it was cooperating with the respective authorities.

Meanwhile, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said it is also working with the authorities to investigate the outbreak of gastroenteritis at the pre-schools.

"ECDA has also stepped up health and hygiene checks during routine visits to centres where they are advised on food hygiene practices and infection control measures," the agency said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'Kids at 3 more PCF Sparkletots centres fall ill with food poisoning'. Print Edition | Subscribe