The microbiological quality of ready-to-eat food in Siu Mei and Lo Mei shops in Hong Kong
Chinese barbecued pork, Microbiological quality, Ready-to-eat food, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp
The safety of ready-to-eat food is an important issue. Improper handling of ready-to-eat food items may result in foodborne outbreaks. In this study, Chinese barbecued pork (Char Siu in Chinese) was selected as the target ready-to-eat food item for a microbial survey. The aim of this study was to evaluate the microbiological quality of Chinese barbecued pork sold in licensed Siu Mei and Lo Mei shops in Hong Kong. A total of 115 samples were collected from supermarkets or wet markets in the 18 districts. They were tested for aerobic plate counts (APC), Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus counts, and the presence of Salmonella spp. for assessing their safety level. Results showed APC ranging from 1.97 to 6.84 log CFU/g, with a mean of 5.05 log CFU/g; E. coli counts ranging from none detected to 3.10 log CFU/g, with a mean of 1.78 log CFU/g; and S. aureus counts ranging from none detected to 1.42 log CFU/g, with a mean of 0.15 log CFU/g. The mean APC and E. coli counts of samples from supermarkets were found to be significantly lower than those from wet markets (p < 0.05) indicating that supermarkets had better microbiological quality than wet markets. Salmonella spp. were isolated from 39% of the samples analyzed, indicating that cross-contamination was quite a serious problem in Siu Mei and Lo Mei shops in Hong Kong. Based on these results, recommendations such as routine inspections and training of vendors were suggested to improve the microbiological quality of products sold in licensed Siu Mei and Lo Mei shops in Hong Kong so as to minimize risks of foodborne outbreaks.
Ng, Y.,Wong, S.,Cheng, H.,Yu, H.,& Chan, S. (2013). The microbiological quality of ready-to-eat food in Siu Mei and Lo Mei shops in Hong Kong. Food Control, 34 (2), 547-553. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.05.018