NEA lifts suspension on kitchen of Mandarin Orchard Hotel
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has lifted a 55-day suspension on Mandarin Orchard Hotel's banquet kitchen that serves the grand ballroom.
NEA said in a statement yesterday that it is satisfied the hotel in Orchard Road has implemented the measures required to rectify lapses that were detected.
This comes after joint investigations by the Ministry of Health, NEA and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority into a norovirus outbreak in which 333 people reported they suffered gastroenteritis symptoms, after attending five separate events at the grand ballroom between Dec 1 and 3 last year.
NEA suspended the banquet kitchen serving the grand ballroom from Dec 5 to Jan 28.
The authorities found there was strong evidence of severe contamination of the grand ballroom with norovirus from poor environmental and personal hygiene practices, including improper cleaning of vomitus on the location before Dec 1.
Norovirus was detected from the stool samples collected from 26 affected cases, three food handlers and 51 service staff, including banquet servers who reportedly continued working while they were ill.
Environmental swabs collected from the grand ballroom also detected norovirus from wall panels, carpet, table tops, chairs, unused table cloths, cutlery and drinking glasses.
During the suspension, Mandarin Orchard Hotel complied with measures including disposing of all ready-to-eat food, thawed food and perishable food items, as well as cleaning and sanitising the premises.
The hotel also submitted its plans for enhanced food safety and cleaning regimes. It will ensure its staff practise good food and personal hygiene and will not work while sick.
All food handlers have since re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene course.
The food hygiene officer at the implicated premises in the hotel has undergone retraining and passed the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit course.
The hotel will remain under close surveillance to ensure that it adheres to its food hygiene plans, added NEA.