After the recent gastroenteritis outbreak in several PCF Sparkletots outlets at Sengkang Central which affected 109 preschoolers, Kate’s Catering was forced to suspend its meal preparation services at all 11 of the PCF Sparkletots centres “for an indefinite period of time”.
TODAY reported PAP Community Foundation (PCF) as saying on Wed (27 Mar) that “Whilst the cause of the children’s illnesses has yet to be determined, as a precautionary measure, PCF Sparkletots has suspended this caterer’s services at all 11 centres for an indefinite period of time”.
PCF has also made interim “food arrangements” which entails providing its Sparkletots preschoolers meals made by “an in-house cook with the requisite certification or from other NEA-certified food caterers”.
“We are taking this matter seriously and our priority was to ensure that our children receive the necessary medical care and attention.
“We are in close contact with affected parents and monitoring their children’s condition.
“Our staff have also carried out cleaning and disinfection protocols of the centres’ premises to reduce the risks of further contamination,” assured PCF.
A Kate’s Catering spokesperson told ST that it is currently working with the authorities – namely the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) – to assist with investigations.
In addition to co-operating with the authorities’ investigations, a Kate’s Catering spokesperson told TODAY that its kitchen is currently undergoing sanitisation.
Results from the investigations will most likely be released in two or three weeks from now, according to TODAY.
The gastroenteritis outbreak at the Sengkang Central PCF Sparkletots outlets was the third of its kind since Feb this year.
Previously, 14 PCF Toa Payoh preschoolers were afflicted with vomiting and nausea as a result of a gastroenteritis outbreak, while 31 people were affected by such an outbreak at the Tanglin MindChamps outlet, ST reported.
Last year, 131 cases of gastroenteritis were traced to food prepared by FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer for a learning camp, according to ST.
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) told ST that it was collaborating with the authorities to study the widespread outbreak of gastroenteritis at the pre-schools, adding that MOH, NEA and AVA, ECDA had issued a food hygiene advisory to all pre-schools on 7 Mar.
“ECDA has also stepped up health and hygiene checks during routine visits to centres where they are advised on food hygiene practices and infection control measures,” said the agency.