Wife of Sats officer who died in food poisoning incident seeks damages from F&B firm Spize
Sats officer Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh died after eating bento boxes prepared by Spize's River Valley outlet in November 2018.
The wife of a Sats officer who died of food poisoning after eating a bento set from Spize is suing the food and beverage establishment and a related firm for damages.
Madam Noor Hidayu Md Ishak, 37, is claiming more than $631,000 from Spize and Spize Events for the death of Mr Mohamad Fadli Mohd Saleh, 38.
In documents filed in the High Court obtained by The Straits Times, Madam Noor Hidayu is claiming that the two companies were negligent in causing the death of her husband, the sole breadwinner of the family.
She said that they had breached a duty of care owed to Mr Mohamad Fadli, a father of two, by preparing and delivering food that was "severely contaminated and unfit or unsafe for human consumption".
In papers filed in its defence, Spize said any gastroenteritis Mr Mohamad Fadli suffered from was caused or contributed to by his own negligence, noting that he had eaten the bento set past the recommended "consume-by" period, and that he had not sought immediate medical attention.
Mr Mohamad Fadli died on Nov 14, 2018, of sepsis and multiple organ failure from acute gastroenteritis after eating the bento set prepared by Spize's River Valley outlet, a coroner's report found.
A total of 221 people ate food prepared by the same outlet between Nov 6 and 9 that year, and 82 people fell ill.
The two companies share a board of directors, with Spize Events then operating the River Valley outlet and Spize handling food catering.
The operating licences of River Valley outlet was terminated in December that year following the food poisoning incident.
In her statement of claims filed in July this year, Madam Noor Hidayu said inspections by the Ministry of Health (MOH), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and other agencies on Nov 7 and Nov 14 revealed various hygiene lapses.
For example, the food used by both companies was contaminated with Salmonella and faecal bacteria was found in ready-to-eat belacan egg fried rice and on kitchen tools, among others.
The sum that Madam Noor Hidayu is seeking includes the amount required to support their son and daughter, who were nine and 11 respectively at the time of Mr Mohamad Fadli's death.
As his parents' only son, Mr Mohamad Fadli was also providing for his 61-year-old father and 58-year-old mother.
Mr Mohamad Fadli had eaten the bento set in the afternoon of Nov 6, 2018 during a Deepavali celebration. He suffered from severe abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhoea between 6pm and 7 pm that day.
He collapsed on Nov 8 and was admitted to a hospital, where he died despite medical attention in the intensive care unit, according to the Madam Noor Hidayu, who is represented by Niru and Co.
However, Spize and Spize Events, who are represented by Joseph Tan Jude Benny, claimed that Mr Mohamad Fadli had eaten the food at least two hours after the stated "consume-by" period.
The recommended period was "clearly indicated" on the invoice for the food, said the companies in their defence, and the invoice contained a disclaimer that Spize "would not be liable for persons who consumed the bento sets after the recommended period", said the companies in their defence.
The companies also noted that Mr Fadli had delayed seeking medical treatment until Nov 7 despite having a high fever of 39.9 deg C on Nov 6. Spize also said that the inspection by MOH and NEA did not reveal that the Salmonella strain detected on its premises were also present in the bento boxes that were delivered to Mr Mohamad Fadli's workplace.
The company's deliveryman had consumed a bento set that morning, but "did not report any illness", according to defence papers filed.
A pre-trial conference will be held in the High Court next month.
Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.