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Food Safety Focus (207th Issue, October 2023) – Article 3

Microbiological Study on the Quality of Non-hot Served Dishes with Chicken Meat

Chicken meat is a common ingredient in many non-hot served ready-to-eat dishes. To achieve optimal meat tenderness, some restaurants may not cook chicken thoroughly, which can allow pathogens present in chicken carcasses (e.g. Salmonella) to survive. Cooked chicken may also undergo additional manual handling without further re-heating, which could allow opportunities for post-cooking contamination with pathogens (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus), especially if there is a lack of good personal and environmental hygiene practices.

A risk assessment study was conducted by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) to gauge the microbiological quality of such non-hot served chicken dishes. While all samples complied with the microbiological food safety criteria for pathogenic bacteria, the trade is reminded to observe Good Hygiene Practices, maintain good hygiene and implement proper time-temperature control during preparation. Food businesses should provide ongoing food safety training to their staff, and make reference to the CFS’ Food Safety Guidelines on Chicken Dishes with Post-cooking Handling (Applicable to Shredded Chicken and Poached chicken). The public is advised to consume non-hot served ready-to-eat chicken dishes as soon as possible after purchase and refrigerate them at 4°C or below if they are not to be consumed immediately.