The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has adjusted the food hygiene grade of full service caterer Kate’s Catering to ‘C’ due to a food poisoning incident.

According to SFA, 259 people reported gastroenteritis symptoms after consuming food at the company’s location at 171 Kampong Ampat, Singapore between 19 and 25 March 2019.

Of the total affected people, 33 were hospitalised, and have recovered and have been discharged since then.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the SFA conducted a joint investigation at Kate’s Catering on 22 and 26 March.

As part of the inspection, the agency identified numerous hygiene failures including improper thawing of food, and poor food handling and the food handlers’ preparation practices.

On 26 March, the agency suspended the licence of Kate’s Catering and lifted it on 17 May. The company has corrected the lapses and enhanced its food preparation processes by putting in place proper measures.

The SFA adjusted the company’s food grade to ‘C’, which is now effective and will be reviewed in 12 months. The caterer will put the premises under surveillance during the period.

In addition, the SFA will take enforcement action for the lapses identified during the investigation.

In a statement the SFA said: “Food operators are reminded to adhere to good food hygiene and safety processes. Infection prevention practices such as the washing of hands before handling food can greatly reduce the incidence of gastroenteritis when adopted by all key stakeholders, including the industry and public.”