June 16 is the Dragon Boat Festival, better known locally as Tuen Ng Festival. Rice dumplings and dragon boat races are the customs of this traditional Chinese festival. A variety of rice dumplings is available for sale. Apart from glutinous rice, the dumplings may contain pork, salted egg yolk, mushrooms, mung bean or other less common ingredients to meet customers' preferences. Rice dumpling is a potentially hazardous food if it is not properly handled. Let's now take a look at the Five Keys for safe consumption of rice dumplings.
CHOOSE the reliable shops. Look at the general hygiene of the shops. The rice dumplings should be properly kept in chillers. Choose only those rice dumplings well wrapped in undamaged leaves. If the rice dumplings have been packaged as pre-packaged products, check for the storage instructions and expiry dates, as well as the ingredients, allergens, manufacturers and packers on the labels. Never buy rice dumplings from doubtful sources or illegal hawkers, beyond expiry dates, or with chemical smells.
Keep the rice dumplings at SAFE TEMPERATURE. Unless they are eaten immediately or there are alternate instructions on the food label, rice dumplings should normally be kept in a fridge at 4 ℃ or below. Keep the rice dumplings in the upper compartment of the fridge. Opened rice dumplings should be discarded if they have been kept under room temperature for over two hours.
SEPARATE the rice dumplings from other raw foods, especially poultry, seafood or meat. Discard rice dumplings that perish, stink or go mouldy due to possible prolonged or improper storage.
If the rice dumplings are home-made, COOK them thoroughly before consumption. If bought as pre-packaged ones, reheat adequately before consumption. Make sure the centre temperature reaches at least 75 ℃ . Do not reheat rice dumplings more than once.
Keep CLEAN. Always observe good personal hygiene. Before eating rice dumplings, wash hands with running water and liquid soap and dry them with a dry towel or paper towel.
Wishing you all a happy Dragon Boat Festival!