SINGAPORE – The hygiene rating of food caterer Kate’s Catering has been downgraded to a “C” on Friday (July 19) by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

This follows a gastroenteritis outbreak in March which affected 13 PCF Sparkletots Preschools and P.L.A.N Student Care Centre. A total of 259 cases were reported. Salmonella enteritidis was also detected in stool samples collected from 46 of the affected cases.

This food poisoning incident was traced back to the consumption of food prepared by Kate’s Catering. Their operations were suspended on March 26 and lifted on May 17.

SFA will review the hygiene rating in 12 months. The caterer’s premises at 171 Kampong Ampat will also be kept under surveillance.

A joint inspection by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and SFA was conducted between March 22 and 26. Several hygiene lapses were identified, including improper thawing of food, poor food handling and preparation practices of the food handlers. SFA added that enforcement action for the lapses will be taken.

To ensure that its staff remain aware of hygienic food preparation practices, Kate’s Catering has since submitted plans for enhanced food safety regimes and sent its food handlers to reattend and pass the Basic Food Hygiene course.

In its statement, SFA also reminded food operators to adhere to good food hygiene and safety practices. Food operators and the public should wash their hands before handling food to reduce the incidence of gastroenteritis and infection.

The public may contact the SFA on 6805-2871 for any feedback on hygiene lapses in food preparation.