The Early Years Centre in Punggol North is currently one of the few pre-schools run by PCF Sparkletots still using a food caterer for its meals, as it does not have sufficient kitchen space to feed 1,000 children at full capacity. But PCF chief executive Victor Bay said the centre will be building bigger kitchen facilities to prepare food with in-house cooks as soon as possible.
From late March to the beginning of this month, there was an outbreak of gastroenteritis across 13 PCF Sparkletots pre-schools. More than 230 children and 12 staff reported symptoms linked to food poisoning, with 31 of them hospitalised.
The affected pre-schools were mainly in Sengkang and Punggol, and the outbreak was traced to the consumption of food prepared by Kate’s Catering, which PCF has since stopped using.
PCF – the biggest pre-school operator with more than 40,000 children attending its centres – has said that it is on the lookout for cooks.
At its centres with childcare services, three meals are provided daily for the children: breakfast, lunch and tea. The cooks must be physically fit to cook for up to 300 children per centre, and must have basic knowledge of nutrition and dietary requirements.