Hong Kong records rise in outbreaks linked to food outlets

Hong Kong records rise in outbreaks linked to food outlets

The variety of individuals sick and the variety of outbreaks elevated this previous 12 months in Hong Kong, based on the nation’s Centre for Meals Security.

In 2022, the Centre for Meals Security (CFS) acquired 117 meals poisoning outbreak referrals from the Division of Well being, affecting 500 individuals. The variety of outbreaks and sufferers went up from 2021 however figures are nonetheless beneath pre-Coronavirus pandemic ranges.

Outbreaks linked to native meals premises and companies have been reported to the CFS of the Meals and Environmental Hygiene Division (FEHD).

Figures have remained on the low facet previously two years. This can be attributable to COVID-19 pandemic measures together with shortened enterprise hours and fewer meal gatherings, stated specialists.

Bacterial pathogens prompted two-thirds of outbreaks in 2022. Salmonella topped the checklist and was behind greater than half of incidents, adopted by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which was chargeable for a couple of third. Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus additionally prompted a number of outbreaks.

Viruses accounted for nearly 1 / 4 of outbreaks with greater than 95 % attributable to Norovirus. Outbreaks attributable to brokers comparable to histamine and ciguatera toxin elevated in 2022.

Contributing components to outbreaks included improper holding temperature, contamination by utensils and contamination by uncooked meals.

“With the relief of anti-pandemic measures and extra prospects returning to on-premises eating, meals companies might face labor shortages that will pose meals security issues. Meals companies ought to stay vigilant and supply satisfactory meals security coaching to all meals handlers, together with everlasting, momentary, or part-time employees,” stated the CFS.

Perception into outbreaks
In November 2022, the CFS acquired 4 outbreak alerts linked to lava cake at a meals premise, involving 10 individuals. Investigations on the web site revealed that though pasteurized egg resolution was used to supply the lava cake, contamination might happen as the identical egg beater was used to course of each unpasteurized eggs and pasteurized egg resolution with out cleansing. Egg batter was additionally saved with uncooked meat in the identical fridge.

Officers discovered insufficient cooking of lava cake with core temperatures beneath 55 levels C (131 levels F), which was beneath the CFS’s really useful temperature of 75 levels C (167 levels F). 

FEHD instructed the agency to cease promoting related meals, conduct thorough cleansing and disinfection of the premises, and eliminate the remaining meals. Laboratory evaluation detected the identical kind of Salmonella Enteriditis in a meals pattern and stool samples from sufferers.

Officers stated the case illustrates the significance of meals handlers following Good Hygiene Practices (GHPs) to keep away from cross-contamination of meals from different sources.

There was additionally a rise in scombroid fish poisoning outbreaks from two in 2021 to 5 in 2022. Tuna was concerned in all incidents in 2022, which affected eight individuals. 

Investigations came about at 5 meals premises and alongside the availability chain. 4 instances concerned extended storage of tuna at temperatures above 4 levels C (39.2 levels F) on the meals outlet, whereas one case confirmed proof of improper storage earlier than import to Hong Kong, leading to histamine formation. 

In the meantime, Hong Kong is internet hosting the following Codex Committee on Meals Components assembly.

CFS is planning to prepare a half-day seminar on March 31, after the meals components session, on enhancing worldwide partnerships in meals security.

Audio system embody Christine Wong, from the Centre for Meals Security; Tom Heilandt, who will discuss in regards to the 60th anniversary of Codex, Markus Lipp and Sarah Cahill.

(To join a free subscription to Meals Security Information, click on right here.)

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