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Test results of lunch boxes and prepackaged food requiring reheating

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) recently completed two targeted surveillance projects on the microbiological quality of lunch boxes and prepackaged food that requires reheating before consumption. All the results were satisfactory.

Announcing the results today (June 30), a spokesman for the CFS said 300 samples of lunch boxes from different food factories were collected for tests for pathogens. For prepackaged food, 200 samples were taken from convenience stores and supermarkets for tests. They included meal boxes (such as rice and spaghetti dishes), snacks (like chicken wings and legs and sausages), dim sum and pizzas.

The pathogens tested included Bacillus cereus, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

Although the results were satisfactory, as food tends to rot easily in the current hot season, the spokesman reminded staff of schools and institutions to keep lunch boxes in insulated containers above 60 degrees Celsius until consumption. They should also shorten the storage time and should not reheat lunch boxes or add gravies at the place of consumption. They should also avoid ordering high-risk food items such as salad and sushi.

"Members of the public should buy from reliable shops and suppliers, and consume them as soon as possible after purchase. For prepackaged food that requires reheating before consumption, do not choose those with damaged packing or that are not properly stored in the refrigerator. Follow the instructions on the package to reheat the food thoroughly and consume soon after reheating," he added.

He also reminded food trade practitioners to follow the "Five Keys to Food Safety" in food production, namely to choose safe raw materials, keep hands and utensils clean, separate raw and cooked food, cook thoroughly and keep food at a safe temperature.

Ends/Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:03

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Last revision date:30-06-2010