Singapore

Delayed eating may be factor in Spize case

He had consumed food from Spize more than three hours after delivery

A man who ate a late lunch, fell ill and died last year had taken food more than three hours after it was delivered from the popular restaurant Spize.

The coroner's court heard yesterday that the delay may have contributed to Mr Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh's death on Nov 14.

The bento boxes were sent to the Kaki Bukit office of security company Brink's Singapore at 11.33am on Nov 6, and an invoice from the eatery stated that the food had to be eaten within an hour of delivery. The invoice also stated that Spize would not be liable for the health of those who consumed the food beyond the recommended time.

The court heard that Mr Fadli, 38, who was a Sats officer, ate the food after 2.53pm.

Mr Pream Raj Sinnasamy from the communicable diseases division of the Ministry of Health (MOH) testified yesterday that food left at room temperature in Singapore's climate could provide a favourable condition for bacteria to proliferate.

When questioned by State Counsel Gabriel Choong, Mr Pream Raj, assistant director of MOH's surveillance, epidemiology and response branch, added that it was "possible this gap between when the preparation was completed and consumption may have contributed to the death".

Mr Fadli, a father of two, died of sepsis and multiple organ failure after he was hit by acute gastroenteritis.

The court heard that Spize's River Valley outlet prepared the bento boxes for a Deepavali celebration at Brink's Singapore's Kaki Bukit premises.

Mr Fadli attended the gathering as he had been deployed to Brink's Singapore, though the event did not involve Sats.

In all, there were seven food poisoning incidents linked to Spize's River Valley outlet between Nov 6 and 9 last year.

Of the 221 people who had consumed food prepared there during this period, 82 reported falling ill.

A joint inspection of the eatery on Nov 14 last year by the National Environment Agency (NEA), MOH as well as the then Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority revealed lapses.

These included having seven unregistered food handlers and preparing food outside the licensed kitchen area.

An earlier joint inspection, on Nov 7 last year, found other lapses, such as leaving ready-to-eat food uncovered in a chiller and not providing soap for washing hands.

A commonly occurring bacterium, Salmonella typhimurium, was found in blood and stool samples from those who fell ill, as well as in the raw and ready-to-eat food and environmental samples taken from the outlet.

NEA terminated the operating licences of the Spize restaurant in River Valley Road on Dec 7 last year.

State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam will issue her findings on Aug 23.

COURT & CRIME