In recent years, "Poon Choi", which is a kind of Village Casserole Dish, has become popular among the consumers. As the preparation of "Poon Choi" takes a relatively longer time, food safety problems are more likely to occur. Therefore, food handlers should note the risk factors involved and their preventive measures.
(A) Risk Factors of "Poon Choi"
- Prepare too much food simultaneously with inadequate facilities and manpower.
- Prepare food too far in advance (that may increase the chance of cross contamination of cooked food).
- Repeated handling of food (such as poached chicken) after cooking by bare hands and utensils (such as cutting boards).
- Keep cooked food in room temperature for prolonged period of time, leading to the growth of bacteria.
- Reheat food inadequately before severing.
(B) Guidelines for the Preparation of "Poon Choi"
- Plan well for the Preparation of "Poon Choi"
- Before making "Poon Choi", estimate what and how many utensils and ingredients are needed. (For example, there should be a sufficient number of insulated containers, as well as two sets of choppers and cutting boards for chopping cooked and uncooked food.)
- Time the preparation of all foods as precisely as possible so that each food is cooked at the right time.
- Avoid cooking perishable food and food which can easily be contaminated too early. (For example, when poached chicken is chopped, it is prone to contamination by the hands of food handler and cutting boards.)
- Purchase of Raw Ingredients and receiving
- Purchase food ingredients from reputable and reliable suppliers.
- When receiving food ingredients, check the quality of the food ingredients and materials, and make sure that the temperatures of chilled and frozen food items are proper.
- Storage Facilities and Temperature Control
- Adopt the first-in-first-out approach for food storage.
- The temperatures of chillers and freezers should be kept at or below 4°C and -18°C respectively.
- Store raw and cooked food in different refrigerators. If they are stored in the same refrigerator, cooked food should be stored above raw food to prevent cross contamination.
- Keep the food storage area clean.
- Food Preparation
- Avoid preparing food too far in advance.
- All utensils and surfaces which will come into contact with food such as dining utensils, chopping boards and cooking utensils should be cleaned and sanitised thoroughly before food preparation.
- Defrost frozen food inside a chiller or under cool running water.
- Cook high-risk food, such as seafoods or poached chicken, thoroughly and store them separately from other food to prevent cross contamination.
- Hot food should be kept at over 60°C after cooking.
- Cover food properly to prevent cross contamination.
- Personal Hygiene
- Maintain good personal hygiene, such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap both before preparing food and after visiting toilet.
- Stop handling food if food handlers have symptoms of gastroenteritis or flu.
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap before handling cooked food (such as handling poached chicken by bare hands),.
If delivery of "Poon Choi" is required, note that:
- Deliver "Poon Choi" to its destination as soon as possible and avoid keeping it under ambient temperature for prolonged period of time.
- Keep the "Poon Choi" in a clean and covered insulated container.
- Keep the delivery vehicle clean.
- Consumption of "Poon Choi"
- Reheat "Poon Choi" immediately upon delivery, or advise customers to reheat "Poon Choi" immediately and keep it above 60oC.
- Remind customers to eat "Poon Choi" as soon as possible.
- Use communal chopsticks when serving "Poon Choi".
A checklist is attached to enable the trade to monitor the "Poon Choi" preparation more effectively.