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Food Safety Focus (126th Issue, January 2017) – Food Incident Highlight

Extended-Spectrum β -Lactamases (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae in Food

Last month, a local study reported that about 68% of the 100 samples of uncooked, raw chicken meat products tested containing ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae .

ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae is a variety of bacteria resistant to certain important antimicrobial agents, which originates from the intestinal tract of animals and humans, plants and the environment. As far as food safety is concerned, only a fraction of these organisms could cause foodborne diseases. It is important to note that they behave similarly to non-antimicrobial resistant organisms and can be killed by thorough cooking.

Antimicrobial resistance is a major public health issue in the world. In this connection, the Government has set up the High-level Steering Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance to tackle the issue. The Centre for Food Safety will provide support to the Committee's work. Meanwhile, traders and consumers are reminded to cook food thoroughly, prevent cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods, as well as observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene during food processing.