Food poisoning

Posted on: May 13, 2009

Since last week, in PinoyITdotSG (a yahoo group of Filipino IT professionals here), there has been a series of intense posts about a recent food poisoning. A member reported an incident related to the party he held on May 2 for his child's birthday. According to him, almost 25 of his guests, allegedly, needed medical attention after consuming food that were prepared/cooked by a Filipina caterer. He posted the message to ask for anyone who knows the caterer's address.

This is the fist post (names and emails have been concealed):

"We celebrate our baby's 1st birthday party last May 2 from 2-11pm, and we ordered a catering service from ____, she was recommended by our friend and we tried her food before its good, so we decided choose her service. The menus ordered are Chicken Afritada, Pork Adobo, Pork Menudo, Beef Kare-Kare, Beef Brocolli, Lumpiang Shanghai, Pancit Bihon, Spaghetti, Chopsuey, Rellenong Bangus, Leche Flan a total to accomodate our 70 visitors. On May 3 around 2PM my wife experience a stomach cramps we just thought shes just bloated but suddenly she experience vomiting, diarrhea and fever. We didnt suspect yet if its the food that we ordered until some of our visitors sms us that it could be the food then a lot of messages came to us with the same issue that they experience, I investigated and found our that visitors who didnt ate Rellenong Bangus were not affected. I called ____ (caterer) and told about the issue

she said it is the first time happened, damn bakit pa sa amin tumama at naging napaka-memorable ng Birthday ng anak ko!. I called her once again and she said she will call back, then after that shes not answering our call anymore.

I already reported the incident to MOH and NEA but what we only got is her name and mobile number, thay said they need the address, thay did tried to call her but shes dropping the call, we got her account number but DBS cannot provide the caterers address for privacy matters. About 25+ of our guests were badly affected, went to the hospital and some are confined, Drs findings is Food Poisoning. If anyone can provide us her address will be great appreciated and reason why im posting this is I don't want this to happen again to anyone."

Lessons to be learned from this incident?

A. If you're planning to engage or already in F&B, register your business

A permit adds to your business image that you're reputable and accountable. This is not to immediately judge that one is not reputable/accountable if he/she has no business permit. Notice that the word "adds" was used. Having a license is a tangible proof that you are willing to face any consequence of doing your business. No matter if the consequence is an appraisal of superb service or product, or a complain from polite or disgruntled customers. Registering your business means you are documented.

The phrase "kind or angry customers" was used because a business person must attend to complaints no matter how unpleasant they are. We all expect the restaurant's manager to listen to our complaints if the soup has a fly in it.

B. For consumers: Only avail of products/services (especially if it concerns F&B) from registered businesses

Whether we want simple breakfast like tapsilog, meryenda, longganisa, or food for party, patronize products from licensed businesses.

Also, always:
1. Obtain a proof that you availed of the product/service (e.g. receipt or contract)
2. Ask for their contact number, business address and permit number

This is not the first case of food poisoning in Pinoy community in SG. Unfortunately, food poisoning also happens in legit establishments like the recent news about a rojak stall in Geylang Serai or the contaminated Prima Deli cakes happened on 2007 December. At least if it's legit, the matter can be addressed to by the government.

Business permit is a protection for consumer. We can also assume that the business owner is aware of the proper food preparation and handling imposed by the government because he/she will not be granted a permit if otherwise.

Street food in Manila


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    Jacqueline Reischel