More hit by food poisoning at student care centre, Sparkletots pre-schools

The number of staff and children affected in a recent spate of food poisoning at some Sparkletots pre-schools and a student care centre has risen by over a dozen, bringing the total to more than 250.

A PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots spokesman said yesterday that there are now 229 children and 12 staff affected, bringing the total across its pre-school branches to 241. This is an increase from the PCF's previous figure of 222 at 4pm last Thursday.

Last Friday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced 16 cases at Plan Student Care Centre.

The 13 PCF centres and Plan Student Care Centre were all served by Kate's Catering, and the company's services have been terminated by PCF since Tuesday last week.

A new PCF centre at Punggol Coast Block 303A was also added to the list of 12 affected PCF centres in Toa Payoh, Sengkang, Paya Lebar and Punggol.

Of the 31 children hospitalised, 30 were discharged and the remaining child is in stable condition, said PCF.

A PCF spokesman said: "Fortunately, no staff required hospitalisation and they are managing well."

 
 
 

He said PCF would extend support to families who were in need of financial assistance as a result of medical expenses incurred.

He said: "We are deeply concerned about our children and staff, and take this matter very seriously. We remain in close contact with all affected parents and are monitoring their children's conditions."

PCF said it would continue to stay vigilant at all its 356 centres, with daily temperature-taking, and regular cleaning and disinfecting.

PCF said that its Sparkletots centres began using catering services last August after a pilot scheme. As of March 20, 35 out of its 356 centres use catering services, while the rest use in-house cooks.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has also instructed Kate's Catering to suspend its operations with effect from Tuesday last week, pending investigations by the various agencies.

Last Wednesday, MOH, NEA and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore said they were investigating the incident.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2019, with the headline 'More hit by food poisoning at student care centre, Sparkletots pre-schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe