Oysters spark stomach flu outbreak at Swissotel's Equinox; restaurant's hygiene rating downgraded

Equinox restaurant's grade will be reviewed in 12 months, and it will be under surveillance in the meantime.
Equinox restaurant's grade will be reviewed in 12 months, and it will be under surveillance in the meantime.PHOTO: SWISSOTEL THE STAMFORD

SINGAPORE - Sky-high restaurant Equinox at Swissotel The Stamford has had its food hygiene grade downgraded to C by the National Environment Agency (NEA), after an outbreak of food-borne illness.

In an advisory issued on Friday (May 4), NEA said 51 people reported having symptoms of gastroenteritis, or stomach flu, after eating food from the restaurant over three dates: Dec 21 and Dec 31 last year and Jan 11 this year.

Gastroenteritis is a bacterial infection where the stomach and intestines are irritated and inflamed, producing symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting.

Swissotel's marketing communications director Vivian Tung told The Straits Times that Equinox received some feedback from diners who complained of "stomach discomfort" after eating oysters on Dec 21 and Dec 31.

"All reported cases from diners shared that they had sought outpatient medical treatment or self-medication," said Ms Tung. 

She said Equinox carried out immediate investigations after receiving the feedback. It also changed its oyster supplier.

"Since then, we have not received any further feedback on concerns pertaining to food hygiene and quality," said Ms Tung.

The restaurant, which is on levels 68 and 69 of the hotel at 2 Stamford Road , had its food hygiene grade adjusted from A to C from Friday after NEA's investigations.

The grade will be reviewed in 12 months, and the restaurant will be under surveillance in the meantime.

The 110-capacity restaurant serves modern European cuisine. It opened in 2001, replacing the Compass Rose restaurant.

"The health and well-being of our guests and colleagues remain of paramount importance to us," added Ms Tung. "We are fully committed and remain vigilant in ensuring that we maintain the highest standards for health and safety, and have been in individual discussions with the affected diners."