Goodwood Park bakery allowed to re-open
Goodwood Park Hotel's bakery licence is no longer suspended, the National Environment Agency, Health Ministry, and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority said in a statement released on Friday (May 20).
The bakery has satisfactorily implemented food safety measures to rectify hygiene lapses, the statement said.
The bakery's licence was suspended on April 22 after at least 76 cases of food poisoning were linked to its popular durian pastries.
The Straits Times later reported in early May that a total of 183 cases could be linked to the hotel's bakery.
A first cluster of five cases was reported on March 15 and MOH and NEA investigated but no hygiene lapses were found.
There were no other cases in the following weeks, so these were treated as isolated cases.
However, a second cluster of cases was reported on April 4, about three weeks after the first group fell ill.
MOH stepped up investigations, sending food samples for testing and food handlers for screening. Later, more cases were reported from April 12, with increasing numbers during the week of April 18.
Joint investigations by the three agencies found that poor personal and food handling hygiene practices were behind the outbreak.
The joint statement said that the investigation team had observed on one occasion that a food handler did not use gloves that covered her arms completely while preparing the filling for the durian crepe.
"This resulted in exposed skin on her forearms coming into contact with the durian filling when she was manually mixing it."
Investigators took samples of durian pastries to be tested on April 13 and they tested positive for E. coli and Salmonella.
Two food handlers from the durian pastry kitchen tested positive for Norovirus. Three consumers who fell ill also tested positive for the bug.
During the suspension period, the bakery disposed of all pastries that were for sale, and stopped preparing and selling any pastries.
The bakery was cleaned and sanitised. Investigators inspected the bakery on April 28 and no foodborne pathogen was detected from environmental swabs of the equipment and work surfaces in the bakery.
All food handlers were sent for stool screening. They have also re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene training course.
The two workers who tested positive for the Norovirus will only be allowed to resume work after they have been cleared by MOH.
NEA said it would place the bakery under "closer surveillance" unless it was satisfied that its staff were practising good food safety and hygiene matters.
It added that the agency would be taking further action against the bakery's licensee for the infringements.
Under the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) regulations, licensees found guilty of breaches may be fined up to S$2,000 for each offence.
The hotel on Friday (May 20) posted a note on its Facebook page apologising for the "distress" caused.
The hotel said it would start producing pastries and desserts for its restaurants and Deli soon, although the date has not been confirmed yet.
"The reopening date of the Deli has not been confirmed yet. When the Deli opens, non-durian pastries will be made available first. Selected durian pastries like mousse cakes, puffs and ice cream will be made available in due course."