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Food Safety Focus (199th Issue, February 2023)– Article 3

Microbiological Quality of Ready-to-eat Food Sold by Vending Machines

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has conducted a study on the microbiological quality of ready-to-eat food sold by vending machines. In recently years, other than only dispensing prepackaged food, some newer vending machines involve on site processing, which requires more vigilance in temperature control and cleanliness in order to maintain food hygiene and safety.

Of the 74 samples taken from these vending machines, none were detected with foodborne pathogens. On quality indicator, the majority (89%) had satisfactory aerobic colony count (ACC). However, eight (11%) of samples had borderline levels of ACC used or contamination during the mixing or dispensing of the products possibly. Food business should take reference from the CFS Guideline and handle ingredients properly, maintain appropriate holding temperature at all times and clean the vending machines regularly and as needed.