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Test results on microbiological quality of poon choi all satisfactory
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has recently completed a seasonal food surveillance project on the microbiological quality of poon choi, and found that the test results of the samples collected were all satisfactory.
     A spokesman for the CFS said today (December 15), "As poon choi is popular for gatherings during winter and there were previous cases of bacterial food poisoning associated with poon choi, the CFS has continued conducting a seasonal food surveillance project this year to assess the microbiological quality of poon choi. A total of 30 poon choi samples were collected from different retailers (including online retailers) for testing of common food poisoning organisms including Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella, coagulase-positive staphylococci organisms 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 or fat," 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, to reduce the risk of food poisoning, they should avoid preparing food too far in advance and should 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 should be stored at four degrees C or below. The cooling time of cooked food should be reduced 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 C and chilled poon choi at four degrees C 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 continue its surveillance of poon choi available in the market to ensure food safety and protect the health of the public.
Ends/Thursday, December 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:00
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