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Food safety tips during Lunar New Year

With the Lunar New Year (LNY) around the corner, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (January 17) reminded people to take heed of the keys to food safety in the purchase and consumption of LNY food.

A spokesman for the CFS said, "The results of a seasonal food surveillance project to assess the safety of LNY food were announced last week. Despite the fact that the test results were largely satisfactory, people should remain vigilant in buying LNY food and preparing festive meals in order to protect their own health."

Safety tips for buying LNY food:
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* Patronise reliable shops with good hygienic conditions;
* Choose food products with natural colour. Avoid buying white pistachios that are unusually bright or melon seeds with unnatural gloss;
* Refer to the nutrition information on product labels to compare the nutritional contents for healthier food choices (e.g. choose nuts with lower sodium content); and
* Keep festive cakes that are not for immediate consumption refrigerated and pay heed to expiry dates.

Safety tips for consumption of LNY food and festive meals
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* Use separate knives and chopping boards to handle raw poultry and ready-to-eat food. Wash and disinfect all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with poultry products and eggs;
* Cook raw chicken thoroughly. If there are pinkish juices running from the cooked chicken or the middle parts of the bones are still red in colour, cook it again until fully done;
* Remove viscera before cooking fan shells and fan scallops, and discard any cooking liquid before consumption;
* Oysters should be thoroughly cooked before consumption. Avoid overindulgence in oysters;
* Carefully plan the amount of food to be prepared and finish the food as soon as possible after cooking. Leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours after cooking;
* Do not store leftovers in the refrigerator for longer than three days and do not reheat them more than once; and
* Discard food with mould or an abnormal smell or taste.

Furthermore, the spokesman reminded members of the public who are planning to travel outside Hong Kong to adhere to food safety practices such as to avoid eating poultry meats and eggs that are not thoroughly cooked. Visits to live poultry markets and contact with poultry, birds and their droppings should also be avoided.

"Even during the festive season, people should maintain a balanced diet. Some LNY foods are relatively high in sugars or fat content, and people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or high blood lipids, or on weight control should avoid overindulging in them," he said.

Please visit the CFS website (www.cfs.gov.hk) for more food safety tips.

Ends/Friday, January 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:31

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Last revision date: 17-01-2014