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Food Safety Focus (48th Issue, July 2010) – Food Incident Highlight

Bacillus cereus in Milk Drink

On 4 June 2010, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) released its Food Safety Report for April. Excessive level of Bacillus cereus was found in a milk drink that requires refrigeration. Immediately after the results were available, the CFS conducted inspections on the food factory, delivery process, and the retailer concerned. Samples had been taken at different production lines and all results were satisfactory. Surveillance on the concerned milk products has been stepped up. No illness related to consumption of the milk product has been reported.

Bacillus cereus is a foodborne pathogenic bacterium ubiquitous in the environment. It can form heat-resistant spores and produce toxin which cannot be destroyed by cooking. Consuming food contaminated with Bacillus cereus or its toxin may cause food poisoning symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Besides implementing Good Manufacturing Practice and food safety management system, the trade is reminded to keep dairy products that require refrigeration at safe temperatures (i.e. at 4°C or below) during transportation and storage.