Man, 38, who died after eating Spize food, consumed bento 5 hours after it was packed

His health deteriorated overnight.

Belmont Lay| August 15, 06:26 PM

Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh, 38, an auxiliary police officer, died of sepsis and multi-organ failure a week after eating from a bento box prepared by Spize.

The father of two children was an employee of ground-handling firm SATS.

The coroner's court heard details about the case on the first day of the inquiry on Aug. 15, as reported by CNA.

What court heard

According to details revealed in court, Fadli had eaten the food prepared by Spize restaurant between 2.53pm and 4pm on Nov. 6, 2018.

This was about five hours after the food had been prepared at Spize's River Valley outlet between 9.30am and 10.30am.

A post-mortem initially stated the cause of Fadli's death as cardiorespiratory failure.

A subsequent report found that Fadli had died of sepsis and multi-organ failure following acute gastroenteritis.

Seven separate suspected food-borne incidents were linked to Spize between Nov. 6 and 9.

Numbers

• 211 people consumed food from Spize.

• 73 people fell sick

• 47 people of them were hospitalised, including Fadli

• 36 tested positive for salmonella

The other 35 have recovered from salmonella.

The salmonella outbreak was described as "unusually severe".

Salmonella is a "self-limiting disease", with an incubation period of between 12 and 36 hours.

This Spize incident had an immediate incubation period that was much shorter, within just eight hours, and there was a high hospitalisation rate.

The possibility of there being a virulent strain of pathogens was ruled out after an investigation.

The severity of those affected was perhaps due to the increased bacteria loads of the contaminated food item.

Timeline

Spize prepared the food at its River Valley premises between 9.30am and 10.30am on the morning of Nov. 6, 2018, for Deepavali celebration that day.

A total of 88 bento boxes were ordered and sent to Kaki Bukit and Tai Seng premises.

A delivery driver placed the boxes in the boot of his personal car and delivered the food.

The food arrived at Kaki Bukit at 11.33am, according to closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage.

The delivery driver told the staff that the food had to be consumed within one hour from the time of delivery.

Fadli arrived at the Kaki Bukit premises at 2.53pm with the rest of his team, based on CCTV footage.

Fadli was at that time attached to security company Brink's Singapore.

He called his wife at 4pm and said he had just eaten.

Investigations were unable to establish which bento set he had eaten and when exactly he ate it.

But he is believed to have consumed the food between 2.53pm and 4pm.

Fadli went home between 6pm and 7pm that day and felt pain in his stomach at around 8.30pm.

He suffered multiple spells of diarrhoea and vomitting throughout the night.

Condition worsened

The next day, Nov. 7, at about 10am, he then went to Raffles Medical Clinic at Waterway Point with his wife.

He reported having multiple episodes of diarrhoea and nausea and had a fever of up to 39.9°C along with body aches.

The doctor diagnosed him with gastroenteritis and prescribed antibiotics, anti-diarrhoea medication and other medicine for his ailments.

Fadli was advised to go quickly to an emergency department if his condition did not improve.

His condition worsened the next day, on Nov. 8, at around 2pm.

His family called for an ambulance and he was unconscious when it arrived and took him to Sengkang General Hospital.

He was warded in the intensive care unit from Nov. 8 to 14.

He suffered a heart attack on Nov. 14.

He was declared dead at 7.19pm that day despite being resuscitation attempts.

Investigations by authorities

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Food Agency, which included the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority at the time, were involved in investigations.

Two of the 34 food handlers working at Spize at the time were tested positive for food poisoning virus or norovirus and were banned from handling food.

Microbial analysis by NEA found salmonella bacteria in food.

Swabs uncovered bacteria found in faeces, faecal coliforms, on a door handle, chopping board and knife.

The Spize River Valley outlet lost its operating licence after the mass food poisoning.

It was initially suspended.

MOH assistant director Pream Raj took the stand on Thursday. The session was led by State Counsel Gabriel Choong.

The coroner will deliver her findings on Friday, Aug. 23.

Details of packed bento

There were three types of rice placed in the bento boxes:

• Indonesian rice, which included egg fried rice, prawn omelette mung beans and tofu;

• Malaysian rice, which included kampung fried rice, chicken sambal and stir-fried morning glory; and

• Chinese rice, which was egg fried rice with Chinese sausage, omelette, crispy fish and other ingredients.