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Food Safety Focus (138th Issue, January 2018) – Food Incident Highlight

Lo-mei are High-risk Ready-to-eat Food

In late 2017, a few clusters of consumers developed abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea after having meals containing lo-mei dishes in a restaurant. In Hong Kong, lo-mei are considered restricted food and their manufacturing and sale are subject to licensing control under Schedule 2 of the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X).

Lo-mei are high risk food because they are ready-to-eat and seldom reheated after initial heat treatment prior to serving. The practice of prolonged storage at ambient temperatures (within the danger zone of 4°C-60°C), and substantial manual handling also fuelled the risk of microbiological contamination. Hence, traders can help prevent food poisoning by taking various measures that abort the introduction, crossing-contamination and multiplication of pathogens (see Food Safety Plan). Consumers are advised to patronise licensed food premises and consume lo-mei as soon as possible after purchase.