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Food surveillance project finds rice dumpling samples satisfactory

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (June 8) announced the result of a seasonal food surveillance project on rice dumplings.

"The CFS collected 105 samples of rice dumplings of different types and flavours from over 60 food premises such as restaurants, food factories and other retail outlets for microbiological and chemical analyses and all of them were found satisfactory," a spokesman for the CFS said.

The chemical analyses included tests for colouring matters (such as Sudan dyes and red 2G), preservatives (such as boric acid, salicylic acid and benzoic acid), metallic contamination (such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and copper) and pesticides (such as methamidophos and DDT). The microbiological analyses covered pathogenic bacteria (such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus).

Rice dumpling is a popular festive food for the Tuen Ng Festival. The objective of the project is to provide information on the safety of rice dumplings to consumers and the trade in a timely manner.

Although all samples passed the tests, the spokesman reminded members of the public to observe the Five Keys to Food Safety in purchasing, storing, preparing and cooking rice dumplings to reduce the risk of contracting food-borne diseases. The keys are:

Choose
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* Buy rice dumplings from reliable retail outlets.
* Pay attention to the hygiene conditions of the premises where rice dumplings are sold and the storage temperature to ensure good quality.

Clean
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* Before eating, wash hands thoroughly with liquid soap and running water and dry them with a dry towel or paper towel.

Separate raw and cooked food
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* Cooked rice dumplings should be kept in a covered container and put in the upper compartment of the refrigerator. Raw food should be kept in the lower compartment to prevent cross-contamination.

Cook thoroughly
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* Reheat rice dumplings thoroughly until the core temperature reaches 75 degrees Celsius or above before consumption.
* Opened rice dumplings should be discarded if they have been kept in room temperature for over two hours.
* Do not reheat leftover rice dumplings more than once.

Safe temperature
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* Rice dumplings should be stored at 4 degrees Celsius or below, or stored properly according to the instructions on the package.

"The public is also advised to maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too many rice dumplings during the festival period," the spokesman added.

He also reminded food manufacturers to purchase food ingredients from reliable suppliers, adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice for preparation of food products and comply with legal requirements when using food additives.

More food safety tips can be found on the CFS website (www.cfs.gov.hk).

Ends/Friday, June 8, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:31

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Last revision date:08-06-2012