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Test results of seasonal food surveillance on poon choi all satisfactory

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has found that the test results of samples collected in a recently completed seasonal food surveillance project on the microbiological quality of poon choi were all satisfactory.

     A spokesman for the CFS said today (December 5), "As poon choi is popular for gatherings during the winter solstice and there were previous cases of bacterial food poisoning associated with poon choi, the CFS continues to conduct a seasonal food surveillance project this year to assess the microbiological quality in poon choi. A total of 30 poon choi samples were collected from local restaurants and food factories for testing of common food poisoning organisms including Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus."

     Despite the fact that test results of the samples were all satisfactory, the spokesman reminded people to be careful when purchasing and enjoying this seasonal delicacy.

     He advised consumers to 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 or reheated poon choi as soon as possible, or keep the food at temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius, and stop consuming the food if it 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 said.

     He also appealed to the food trade not to entertain orders beyond handling capacity. Traders are reminded to check the quality of food and ingredients when they are delivered to them. In addition, they 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, for example, perishable items at four degrees Celsius or below. Reduce the cooling time of cooked food as far as possible, for example, by dividing food 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 four degrees Celsius or below," the spokesman said.

     "Traders should also provide clear advice on the proper methods of storing and reheating of poon choi to consumers so as to further reduce the risk of food poisoning due to incorrect handling," he added.

     The CFS will remain vigilant and continue its surveillance of poon choi available in the market to ensure food safety and protect the health of the public.

Ends/Friday, December 5, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:01


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