Top 5 food scandals in Singapore

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Rojak Geylang Serai

In April 2009, more than 150 people fell sick to food poisoning after eating at Rojak Geylang Serai, an Indian rojak stall found at Geylang Serai Market. With two people passing away and thirty-seven people hospitalized, it’s widely considered to be the worst case of food poisoning in recent memory.

According to authorities, the food was discovered to have contained bacterium from raw seafood, and the rojak seller in question was punished with the maximum fine of $9,000. The market was thereafter shut down for a two-day clean up.

I wonder if the fine should have been brought up even higher for this case. I mean, two people died. But I suppose in the rojak seller’s defence, he didn’t actually know how the bacterium had infiltrated his rojak.

Youth Olympic Games

In 2010, 21 members of the Youth Olympic Games organizing committee were struck by food poisoning after ingesting catered food in August that year. The victims developed symptoms of mild diarrhoea and abdominal pain. The incident did not affect the Singapore athletes however, since they were not served the same food as the volunteers.

The victims in question managed to recover fully.

Singapore Sports School

In November 2010, more than 100 students from the Singapore Sports School fell sick to food poisoning after consuming meals prepared by the school’s caterer, ISS Catering Services. The specific cause was never quite discovered, but speculations have surmised that the cordial drinks and the chicken frank rolls could be guilty. Thereafter, the school dining hall was closed for cleaning and disinfection; the catering company proposed compensation and its license to operate the canteen was suspended by authorities.

Pre-school incident

In 2011, eight preschool centres were affected by food poisoning – 235 children and 12 teachers fell sick. Pat’s Schoolhouse operated six of the centres, and the other two were the Children’s Place in Kay Siang Road and Learning Vision at Raffles Place. They were all supplied with food by Mum’s Kitchen Catering. Upon investigations by the authorities, the outbreak had been traced to the seafood marinara pasta that contained the salmonella enteritidis virus. Because the virus was not exclusive to seafood and more to poultry and eggs, cross-contamination was suspected at the caterer’s working place. Apparently, the same trays were utilized to carry raw and cooked food. As a result of this incident, the catering company was suspended and subjected to a fine of $300 and four demerit points. They were also taken to court.

Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ Primary School

In July 2011, 85 Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ Primary School students were infected with a kind of stomach virus called ‘Gastroenteritis’. Their symptoms included nausea and abdominal pain, but ultimately none were hospitalized. Apparently, the outbreak was caused by students consuming food produced by the neighbouring Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ Secondary School canteen.

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