Food caterer says sorry to senior citizens; can’t also figure out ‘what happened’

ROXAS CITY, Capiz – The caterer who prepared the food for senior citizens during the recent celebration of the “Senior Citizens Week” (Oct.1-7) has apologized for the alleged “food poisoning” incident but stressed that she, too, was baffled by the sad turn of events.

        Heloise de la Cruz Mendoza said that she and her husband have  been in the food catering business for many years.  But it was the first time that she was confronted with the “food poisoning” incident.

        More than 40 senior citizens were hospitalized shortly after eating the packed lunches catered by the  Mendozas as the city’s elderly  observed “Senior Citizens Week” last Oct. 4 at the Dinggoy Roxas Civic Center. Many of them experienced either dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and other gastrointestinal ailments.    The city government had paid the caterer P81,000 for the food of about 800 senior citizens,  it was learned.

        Of the 43 who complained of various illnesses, 13 were confined at the St. Anthony Hospital,5 at the Capiz Emmanuel Hospital and 9 at the Roxas Memorial Provincial Hospital, according to city administrator Ronald Amigo.  The rest were outpatients.

        The city government shouldered half of the expenses incurred by the elderly for their  medication; the other half was paid by the province.  Free medicines were also given to them.

        The packed meals  consisted of chopsuey, pork and rice.

        Samples of the packed lunch were brought to Iloilo for examination.

by: Harold A. Feliciano, The Capiz Times

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