At least 49 people have fallen ill with gastroenteritis after eating food prepared at the Spize Restaurant, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday.
Of the 49, 21 were hospitalised. All had consumed food that had been prepared at the restaurant's River Valley Road outlet on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Health (MOH), the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and NEA were notified of the cases on Wednesday and conducted a joint inspection of the outlet's premises the same day.
They found several hygiene lapses. Food that was ready to eat was left uncovered in a chiller, soap was not provided for hand washing, the soap dispenser was faulty, and knives for preparing ready-to-eat food were slotted in the gaps between food preparation tables.
The NEA said Spize was instructed to rectify the issues immediately, and the licence of its River Valley Road outlet was suspended.
Spize was also told to dispose of all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items, and to thoroughly clean and sanitiseits premises, equipment, utensils, work surfaces and toilets.
The outlet's licence will remain suspended until the NEA is satisfied that the public health risks have been addressed. The NEA added that it would take necessary enforcement actions against Spize for the infringements.
Food and environmental samples were also collected by AVA. Laboratory tests are ongoing.
Reports started circulating online yesterday morning that people had come down with food poisoning after eating at one of Spize's outlets.
Spize apologised for the incident later in the day. It said on Facebook that its River Valley outlet had supplied 88 bento sets to an unspecified location on Tuesday, and it was aware of 15 people who had fallen ill after eating the food.
Spize said it was working with MOH and NEA to identify the cause of the incident.