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Food Safety Focus (182nd Issue, September 2021) – Food Incident Highlight

Salmonella in Prepackaged Cut Fruit

The Centre for Food Safety recently announced that a sample of prepackaged cut fruits collected during the routine Food Surveillance Programme was found unsatisfactory due to the presence of Salmonella. The restaurant and the food factory involved were instructed to stop selling the product immediately.

Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can be transmitted to humans by contaminated food and cause illness. Susceptible individuals, once infected, are especially at risk for serious complications. Prepackaged cut fruits are high-risk foods as they are eaten raw, receive no heat treatments to kill harmful microorganisms present, and require much manual handling that risks cross-contamination during preparation. Furthermore, inappropriate storage temperature, say 4°C or above, can promote the growth of Salmonella present.

The trade should follow the Good Manufacturing Practice and adopt food safety systems in the production of high-risk foods like prepackaged cut fruits and salads. Consumers should store prepackaged cut fruits properly and consume them before expiry. Susceptible individuals should avoid prepackaged cut fruits for safety’s sake.