Saturday, November 1, 2014

Updated: 4-year-old's death from eating tainted food a misadventure, says coroner

Updated from the previous post re: 4-year-old's death from eating tainted food a misadventure, says coroner. Yesterday news reported that NEA will take action against the stall owner in court (Straits Times; 1st Oct 2014). Under the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations, the stall owner faces a fine of up to SGD 2000 for each charge. In addition, Kopitiam was also reported to be taking action against the stall owner by terminating the license agreement with the said operator. On top of that, the boy's family could also take legal action against the stall owner, as pointed out by criminal lawyer Justin Tan. However, the boy's family was reported to have decided not proceed with that course of action.

I hope that this incident will provide a strong reminder to all food stall operators/owners to be extra vigilant and responsible in terms of ensuring that food safety/hygiene is followed. Owners should also ensure that all of their staffs handling food are well trained, certified and responsible. They should be made aware of stool-to-food transmission of lethal pathogens, in this case Salmonella spp. and never handle food when they are feeling unwell.

I remember that there was a case of Salmonella poisoning (or Salmonellosis) reported in 2007 and affected PrimaDeli product, in which scores of people were affected by the contaminated food product. Fortunately no lethality was reported. Sadly, the transmission of this bacterium was due to poor food hygiene practices and was attributed to food handlers (in which two were tested positive for Salmonella Group C) and management.

Food poisoning is not life-threatening to majority of adults, but I would like to remind food operators that food poisoning could be detrimental/lethal to certain susceptible group of people, such as children and elderly.

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