Enjoy Rice Dumplings Safely during the Dragon Boat Festival

When May comes around, the weather is getting warmer and it is time to enjoy rice dumplings. Some restaurants have been quick to promote their rice dumplings. From jumbo-sized Cantonese style in savoury taste to miniatures with bean paste, this delicious traditional food is sure to make mouths water. In the old days, every family would be busy soaking wrapping leaves and preparing ingredients like pork, mung bean and duck egg yolk to make rice dumplings when the Dragon Boat Festival drew near. Nowadays, we usually buy ready-made rice dumplings from shops to celebrate the Festival. In order to enjoy rice dumplings safely, we must always bear in mind the Five Keys to Food Safety.

First, choose. You should purchase rice dumplings from reliable retailers. Pay attention to the hygienic conditions of the premises and the storage temperature of rice dumplings to ensure good quality. Storage instructions and expiry date should be properly shown on prepackaged rice dumplings. Also, information such as ingredients used and the manufacturer/packer should be provided. Do not buy rice dumplings from doubtful sources and beyond the expired dates.

Second, safe temperature. Upon returning home, you should put rice dumplings into refrigerators at 4 ℃ or below as soon as possible or follow the instructions on the package and store them properly.

Follow the key "separate" for storage of rice dumplings, cooked rice dumplings bought from shops should be put into a covered container and kept in the upper compartment of the refrigerator, while raw food in the lower compartment. This can prevent cross-contamination resulted from juices of raw food dripping onto cooked food.

Before eating, remember the key "cook". Rice dumplings must be reheated thoroughly until its centre temperature reaches at least 75 ℃ before consumption. Discard those stored under room temperature over two hours. Also, do not reheat rice dumplings more than once.

Lastly, clean. Always observe good personal hygiene. Before eating rice dumplings, wash hands with warm water and liquid soap for at least 20 seconds and dry them with a dry towel or paper towel.

For the sake of your health, you should observe the Five Keys and maintain a balanced diet, especially not to over-indulge in rice dumplings high in duck egg yolk and fatty meat. Moderation is the key and members of the public should not eat too many rice dumplings in one go. For persons with chronic diseases, they are recommended to seek advice from doctors or dietitians. If a product bears a nutrition label, you can refer to its nutrition contents such as energy, saturated fat and sodium and the reference amount (per serving or per 100g or per package); together with the amount eaten to calculate the amount of energy and nutrients you get from the rice dumplings.