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High risk food - raw shrimp sashimi

Trade version

Hong Kong people like delicious food and sashimi is probably one of the most popular foods in recent years. Due to a high market demand, sashimi is available not only in Japanese restaurants, but also in restaurants providing South-East Asian foods. Sashimi is eaten raw and improper preparation and excessive intake can lead to food poisoning. As sashimi is a high risk food, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has stringent licensing requirements for food premises preparing and selling sashimi in Hong Kong.

Marine shrimps are commonly used in shrimp sashimi. Their shells are easily contaminated by pathogens, like Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio cholera. This explains why the risk of eating raw shrimp is high. In order to reduce the risk, the public should pay extra attention on the following tips -

  • It is not advisable to buy raw shrimps from market stalls to make shrimp sashimi
  • If you wish to make shrimp sashimi at home, buy shrimp only from reliable and reputable source
  • Before ordering sashimi in restaurants, check whether the premises have a FEHD licence with the display of an orange label with the relevant endorsement stickers at a conspicuous position near the entrance for easy reference by customers. If not, don't eat sashimi in these premises

  • Before eating shrimp sashimi, check whether the sashimi is cold; don't eat any sashimi which is not kept cold

  • If sashimi is not fresh or with a strange taste, stop eating and alert the operators of the premises

  • Minimize the amount of shrimp sashimi intake to reduce risk

  • Consult the doctor and inform Department of Health and FEHD if gastrointestinal symptoms appear after eating shrimp sashimi




 

Prepare shrimp sashimi carefully (Trade version)

As sashimi is a high risk food, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has stringent licensing requirements for food premises preparing and selling sashimi in Hong Kong. Permission must be obtained from the Department if restaurants want to make and sell sashimi for business.

During preparation, flesh of shrimps is easily contaminated by bacteria pathogens, like Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio cholera. As consuming contaminated shrimp sashimi can cause food poisoning, licensees and food handlers should stringently control the source of food materials and the whole processing.

Purchasing

  • Buy food materials only from reputable suppliers that maintain good hygiene practice; when making and selling sashimi, all imported food materials should be accompanied by health certificates issued by relevant authority of the exporting countries which are acceptable to FEHD. It is not advisable to buy raw shrimps from market stalls for preparing sashimi.

Transportation

  • Pack shrimp sashimi well to prevent cross-contamination during transportation and the storage temperatures should be at or below 4°C or -18°C

Storage

  • Store chilled shrimp in refrigerator with temperature at or below 4°C and frozen shrimp in freezer with temperature at or below -18°C ; isolate shrimp materials intended for making shrimp sashimi from other foods to prevent cross-contamination

Preparation

  • Defrost frozen shrimp in refrigerator with temperature of 0-4 oC
  • Prepare sashimi only at specified areas in food preparation room
  • Use exclusive cutting boards and knives for sashimi; clean and disinfect the utensils thoroughly before handling different types of sashimi food (For example: After preparing shrimp sashimi and before preparing other sashimi, the utensils should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.)

Personal hygiene

  • Food handlers should wear clean uniform and maintain good personal hygiene; stop handling sashimi if there are wounds / cuts on hands or when the food handlers have any illness such as gastroenteritis or other communicable diseases

Reporting

  • Inform Department of Health and FEHD for follow-up action if the customers have gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming sashimi products
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