More children have been hospitalized following a food poisoning incident at Pat’s Schoolhouse. The school said 23 people have been warded after they fell ill, eating food catered by an external vendor. They include children aged between three and six and a teacher. The Health Ministry said a total of 240 children and 8 teachers were affected, most of whom have recovered. Seventeen of the affected cases are now receiving treatment in hospital, including the seven reported earlier. They are in stable condition. Six of Pat’s Schoolhouse’s 14 branches were affected by the incident on May 10.
The vendor, Mum’s Kitchen Catering, has since been suspended. The caterer had a history of food hygiene lapses – it was fined last December, when 35 people fell ill after a dinner at a company function. The school said it will use an in-house caterer, at least for the next six months. One affected parent told Channel NewsAsia that her two children experienced diarrhoea and vomiting after returning from the Schoolhouse’s Halifax Road branch. A letter from the school said measures have been taken to step up hygiene practices. The school is also in touch with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
Karen Liau, a homemaker, said: “Will they continue with this caterer although they have suspended it? They have some history on hygiene problems, and this is not the first time, so I think they should actually drop this vendor. “I think they should actually have done some checks. I’m not sure how they go about selecting vendors like that, because for kids, their tummies are really sensitive. Hygiene is vital.” A spokesperson from Pat’s Schoolhouse said: “At the time the caterer was engaged eight months ago, the caterer had a good track record and registered as a licensed caterer with NEA. Until this incident, we were not aware of the food poisoning case linked to Mum’s Kitchen.”