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CFS announces study results on microbiological quality of "poon choi"

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (December 14) announced that in a recently completed seasonal food surveillance project to assess the microbiological quality of "poon choi" the testing results of all 30 samples were satisfactory.

     "'Poon choi' is popular during the Winter Solstice Festival and the Chinese Lunar New Year. The CFS collected the 'poon choi' samples from Chinese restaurants and food factories for testing of food poisoning organisms, including Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus," a CFS spokesman said.

     Despite the satisfactory results, the spokesman reminded traders to check the quality of food and ingredients when they are delivered to them. In addition, traders should avoid preparing food too far in advance. To prevent food-borne diseases, food handlers should also take note of the temperature in storing, transporting and preparing food.

     "All food and food ingredients should be stored at safe temperatures, eg perishable items at 4 degrees Celsius or below. Reduce the cooling time of cooked food as far as possible, for example by dividing it into smaller portions or placing it in shallow containers. If transport of 'poon choi' is required, hot 'poon choi' should be kept above 60 degrees Celsius and chilled 'poon choi' at 4 degrees Celsius or below," he said.

     The spokesman also advised consumers to observe the following safety tips:

* Order "poon choi" from licensed and reliable suppliers;
* Avoid prolonged storage of "poon choi" at room temperature to reduce the risk of bacteria growth;
* Consume cooked/reheated "poon choi" as soon as possible, or keep them above 60 degrees Celsius; and
* Stop consumption immediately if the food tastes or smells abnormal.

     "The public should also maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too much food with high levels of energy, sugar, salt, fat and/or cholesterol," the spokesman added.

Ends/Friday, December 14, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:31


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