All 500 samples of lunch boxes and refrigerated prepackaged boxed meals that require reheating before consumption taken for assessment of microbiological quality under two targeted food surveillance projects conducted by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) were found to be satisfactory.
"The CFS of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) collected 300 samples of lunch boxes and 200 samples of prepackaged food that require reheating before consumption from different food factories, convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants and other retail outlets in April and May for the testing of pathogens, including Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus," a CFS spokesman said today (June 14).
Although all samples passed the tests, the spokesman reminded the operators of schools and institutions to order lunch boxes from reliable premises with a valid food factory licence issued by the FEHD.
He added, "The hot and humid summer is conducive to the growth of pathogens in foods. To minimise the risk of food poisoning, lunch boxes should be kept in insulated containers, with the temperature maintained above 60 degrees Celsius until they are consumed. The storage time should be shortened as far as practicable. In addition, lunch boxes taken out of insulated containers should be consumed as soon as possible. Further processing after delivery of lunch boxes to the place of consumption should be avoided.
"The operators of schools and institutions should also avoid ordering high-risk food items (e.g. cold dishes like sashimi, sushi or unthoroughly washed fresh vegetables and fruits, etc.) for young children, elderly people or people with lower immunity."
He also reminded the trade 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 (i.e. hot food maintained above 60 degrees Celsius and chilled food at four degrees Celsius or below).
"Members of the public should buy food from hygienic and reliable food premises. Consume as soon as possible after lunch boxes are purchased or when prepackaged food has been reheated according to the instructions on the package. Do not choose prepackaged meals without intact packaging or those that have not been properly stored in the refrigerator. Do not consume food if abnormalities are detected," he said.
Ends/Thursday, June 14, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:31