Spize Restaurant in River Valley suspended after 49 cases of gastroenteritis, Health News & Top Stories



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SINGAPORE – At least 49 people became ill with gastroenteritis after eating prepared foods at the Spize Restaurant, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Nov. 9).

Of the 49 cases, 21 were hospitalized. All affected individuals consumed food that was prepared on River Valley Road's Spize Restaurant outlet on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health (MS), the Agricultural and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the NEA were first notified of the cases on Wednesday and conducted a joint inspection of the premises of the restaurant on the same day.

During the inspection, they encountered several lapses of hygiene. The food that was ready to eat was left uncovered in a cooler, no soap was provided for people to wash their hands, the soap dispenser was defective, and the knives to prepare ready-to-eat foods were inserted into the gaps between food preparation tables.

The NEA said that Spize was instructed to correct the issues immediately, and that the license from his River Valley Road store was suspended "to protect consumers from the public health risks of continued operation of the food store."

In addition, Spize was instructed to discard all ready-to-eat foods, thaw foods and perishable foods, and cleaned and sanitized his facilities, equipment, utensils, work surfaces, and restrooms.

Spize must also review and correct the lapses in the food preparation processes that were identified during the joint inspection.

The River Valley Road outlet will remain suspended until NEA is satisfied that the public health risks have been resolved.

NEA said it would take the necessary enforcement measures against Spize for violations found during the joint investigation.

"Licensed food operators are responsible for implementing systems and processes to ensure that high standards of hygiene are observed by food handlers at all times. Food operators are also reminded to ensure that all food handlers are NEA and do not get involved in any food preparation if they are sick, "said the NEA.

The NEA added that food outlets are regularly inspected and that strict enforcement measures will be taken against any errant food outlets.

NEA advised members of the public to report such incidents by calling the 24-hour NEA Contact Center at 1800-CALL-NEA (1800-2255-632).

Food and environmental samples from the Spize Restaurant on River Valley Road were collected by AVA as part of the investigation. Laboratory tests are in progress.

The Ministry of Health collected stool samples from some of the people who were affected and referred the food handlers for stool exams.

Spize has since apologized for the incident.

Reports of the incident began circulating on the Hardwarezone forum around 11am on Friday, with Internet users saying cases of food poisoning occurred after people ate food from one of Spize's stores.

Around 6:10 pm on the same day, Spize Bedok wrote on his Facebook page: "We at the Spize administration would like to offer our heartfelt prayers first to those affected by the food poisoning case."

Spize said his River Valley outlet provided 88 bento's to an unspecified location on Tuesday, and that he was aware of 15 people who became ill after consuming the appliances.

Spize said he is working with the MOH and NEA to identify the cause of the incident.

"We are committed to taking the necessary necessary measures. We would also like to wish a speedy recovery for those who have been affected," Spize added.

According to its website, Spize, opened in 1997, is a restaurant that sells food from Singapore, Thailand, India, the West and the Mediterranean.

It has four exits – the other three are in Bedok, Rifle Range and Siglap. Customers can order bento boxes online from their Asian, Mediterranean and vegetarian menus.

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