42 fall ill after banquet meal at Mandarin Orchard, 4 hospitalised

42 fall ill after banquet meal at Mandarin Orchard, 4 hospitalised
MOH, NEA and AVA said in a joint statement that they are investigating the outbreak of gastroenteritis, which has been traced to food prepared at Mandarin Orchard on Sunday and later eaten by those affected.
PHOTO: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

SINGAPORE - Forty-two guests have fallen ill after attending a wedding banquet at Mandarin Orchard Singapore on Sunday (Dec 2), in the latest food poisoning incident to hit the country in recent weeks.

As of 9.30am on Wednesday, four of them have been hospitalised, the authorities said.

The Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a joint statement on Wednesday that they are investigating the outbreak of gastroenteritis, which has been traced to food prepared at Mandarin Orchard on Sunday and later eaten by those affected.

Counsellor Matthew Tjow, his wife and three children were among the more than 400 guests who attended the wedding lunch banquet.

The 40-year-old said that he and his three children began showing symptoms of gastroenteritis on Monday, while his wife experienced some stomach discomfort on Tuesday.

"We are definitely feeling better in the past 24 hours. But my seven-year-old daughter was the worst hit among us," he said.

"She had several bouts of vomiting back to back, and we were worried that she may be dehydrated. All of us haven't had enough sleep in the past days."

Mr Tjow added that his 10-year-old son is still running a fever on Wednesday.

"All of us came together on Sunday with the intention of celebrating the couple's happy marriage. It is sad that it is now marred by this crisis, and my newly married friends are now put in an uncomfortable and unhappy situation," said Mr Tjow, who first met the groom about 20 years ago.

He said that a representative from the hotel had contacted him on Tuesday night and paid his family a visit on Wednesday afternoon.

MOH, NEA and AVA said that they have conducted a joint inspection of the caterer's premises on Tuesday.

As part of the investigations, food handlers were sent for stool screening, and food and environmental samples were taken for testing, they added.

A spokesman for Mandarin Orchard said on Wednesday that the hotel has been reaching out to affected guests to render support and assistance where possible, and to personally check on how they are doing.

The hotel said that it is cooperating fully with the authorities in their investigations, adding that official findings should be released soon.

Meanwhile, hotel workers who handled food during the relevant banquet events have been temporarily relieved of their duties until they have completed all necessary medical tests and are cleared by the authorities, the spokesman said.

The hotel will also cease serving raw food prepared from its banquet kitchens while investigations are underway.

"We remain committed to adhering to stringent food hygiene and sanitation standards across our food and beverage operations, as we have always been," the spokesman added.

There have been three separate food poisoning incidents in the last four weeks.

On Nov 6, 81 people fell sick after eating food catered by Spize for a Deepavali celebration. A Sats officer, Mr Fadli Salleh, 38, died in hospital about a week later.

On Nov 23, 190 people fell ill after eating food from TungLok Catering at a Singapore Civil Defence Force event.

Four days later, 131 kindergarten pupils and teachers fell ill after eating food from FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer.

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Posted by Mandarin Orchard Singapore on Tuesday, 4 December 2018

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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