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Hong Kong In August of food safety report released

8 October 2009 2,388 views No Comment

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (October 7) released its Food Safety Report for August, which covered food surveillance results for the month. About 4,800 food samples were tested in August. Of these, about 3,200 were taken for chemical tests and about 1,600 for microbiological and other tests.

The overall satisfactory rate was 99.7%, with 13 samples being found unsatisfactory. While microbiological tests cover pathogens and viruses, chemical tests are to detect pesticides, preservatives and metallic contamination. Samples included vegetables, fruit and their products; meat, poultry and their products; aquatic products; milk, milk products and frozen confections; and cereals, grains and their products.

Vegetables, fruits and products ——————————- About 1,900 samples of vegetables, fruit and their products were taken for microbiological and chemical tests. For tests on pesticide residues, a Chinese lettuce sample was found to contain methamidophos at a level of 2.4ppm. All the samples tested for pathogens, metal contamination, preservatives and colouring matters were satisfactory.

Meat, poultry and products ————————– The CFS collected about 700 samples of meat, poultry and their products for microbiological and chemical tests. Six samples were unsatisfactory. Five fresh beef samples were found to contain the preservative sulphur dioxide, which is not permitted to be used in fresh meat, at levels ranging from 36ppm to 390ppm.A sample of ready-to-eat wined chicken was found to contain the pathogen Salmonella.

All the samples tested for veterinary drug residues and colouring matters were satisfactory. Aquatic products —————- About 300 samples, including fish, shellfish and their products, were analysed for micro-organisms, chemicals and biotoxins. There were three unsatisfactory samples.

For tests on veterinary drug residues, a frozen shrimp sample and a chilled threadfin sample were found to contain metabolite of nitrofuran at a level of 0.0022ppm and 0.0071ppm respectively. Another sample of chilled threadfin was found to contain non-permitted malachite green at a level of 0.046ppm. All the results for metal contamination, pathogens, preservatives and biotoxins were satisfactory.

Milk, milk products and frozen confections —————————————— The CFS took about 700 samples of milk, milk products and frozen confections for microbiological and chemical analyses. All the test results were satisfactory. Cereals, grains and products —————————- About 50 samples were tested for micro-organisms and chemicals.

All were satisfactory. Other food commodities ———————- About 1,100 samples including snacks, dim sum, sushi, sashimi, condiments and sauces were tested. There were three unsatisfactory samples.

A sample of “poon choi” and a sample of soup vermicelli with pork sataywere found to contain the pathogen Bacillus cereus at a level of 2.5 million per gramme and 810,000 per gramme respectively. A chilli sauce sample was found to contain the non-permitted colouring matter Red 2G. Conclusion ———- Most of the unsatisfactory chemical test results involved excessive or illegal use of food preservatives, veterinary drug residues or colouring matters in food.

A CFS spokesman urged the food trade to use only permitted food additives, follow good manufacturing practices and comply with legal requirements. On the detection of pathogens in food samples, he said they could be indications of unsatisfactory hygiene conditions during food processing and production. He reminded traders to avoid preparing food in excessive amounts or too far in advance.

Food handlers should maintain good personal hygiene during food processing. Raw and cooked food should be kept separately. “All food ingredients should be thoroughly cooked and properly stored at above 60 degrees Celsius, or at or below 4 degrees Celsius.

“If necessary, ‘poon choi’ should be reheated thoroughly with the centre temperature reaching 75 degrees Celsius or above before consumption,” he added. The CFS has taken follow-up action in respect of the unsatisfactory samples. These included tracing the food sources, asking concerned vendors to stop selling and to dispose of the affected food, taking further samples and issuing warning letters.

“If there is sufficient evidence, prosecution will be taken,” the spokesman said.

Source: HKSAR Government

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