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Food Safety Focus (136th Issue, November 2017) – Food Incident Highlight

Microbiological Quality of Locally Available Salads

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) released the risk assessment report on microbiological quality of locally available salads covering over 100 samples composed primarily of raw vegetables. While 99% of the samples collected showed no microbiological food safety concern, one sample contained Listeria monocytogenes at a level exceeding the requirement in the CFS’ Microbiological Guidelines for Food. In recent years, overseas studies/reports have also demonstrated the potential health risk arising from the contamination of salads with pathogens.

Salads are high risk foods as they have not been subjected to cooking, and are likely to harbour harmful bacteria. The CFS reminds traders to follow Good Manufacturing Practices for controlling associated microbial hazards. The CFS advises consumers to handle products in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. Moreover, susceptible groups (especially pregnant women, children, the elderly and people with low immunity) shall not eat pre-prepared or pre-packaged salads in general; if wanted, self-prepare and consume them as soon as possible.