Hong Kong sees extra outbreaks however fewer sick in 2020

Greater than 220 outbreaks have been reported to the Centre for Meals Security (CFS) in Hong Kong this previous yr.

The CFS of the Meals and Environmental Hygiene Division acquired 229 reviews of meals poisoning outbreaks linked to companies that affected 632 folks. Beneath 200 outbreaks have been reported in 2019 however extra folks fell ailing than in 2020.

The variety of outbreaks linked to takeaway meals elevated from 36, or 19.5 % of the full, sickening 236 folks in 2019 to 128, or 55.9 %, affecting 331 folks in 2020. This improve was primarily attributable to at least one incident traced to sandwiches.

The company famous that for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic, takeaway meals have develop into extra widespread among the many public.

Bacterial foodborne brokers remained the main trigger in 90 % of outbreaks in 2020 with three quarters attributable to Salmonella, adopted by Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Bacillus cereus.

Viruses accounted for 7 % of all incidents with Norovirus primarily concerned. Pure toxin instances reminiscent of mushroom toxins and ciguatera and chemical ones like calcium oxalate poisoning contributed to the remaining outbreaks.

Giant outbreak traced to sandwiches
Contamination by uncooked meals or by meals handlers and improper holding temperature have been the three most incessantly recognized contributing components.

In Could 2020, the CFS was informed of an outbreak associated to consuming pre-packaged sandwiches of the identical model, involving 236 folks.

Stool samples of 42 affected folks yielded Salmonella. One sufferer required intensive care and the blood specimen grew Salmonella Enteritidis. Group D Salmonella was additionally detected in an unconsumed sandwich purchased by a sufferer.

Sandwiches have been produced by a neighborhood meals manufacturing unit. An investigation revealed numerous contributing components to the outbreak, together with ready-to-eat components being contaminated by uncooked components and meals handlers, improper temperature throughout transport of the sandwiches to shops, and improper storage temperature of completed merchandise on the temperature hazard zone permitting pathogens to develop.

The producer didn’t present the manufacturing and expiry date on the label of sandwiches for employees and buyer info. A sandwich pattern collected from an outlet examined optimistic for Group D Salmonella.

CFS instructed the manufacturing unit and shops to cease the sale of all sandwiches and perform thorough cleansing and disinfection. The manufacturing unit operator has since ceased working the involved meals enterprise.

In September 2020, seven outbreaks involving 19 folks have been reported, involving takeaway lobster noodles purchased from a restaurant. A sufferer’s stool pattern grew Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

An investigation revealed the cooked lobsters have been ready too far prematurely to cater for the excessive demand throughout busy hours, and may need been contaminated by meals handlers and different uncooked seafood. The location was cleaned and disinfected and no additional associated incidents have been acquired.

Packaging optimistic for COVID-19 virus
Elsewhere, this previous month a pattern from the packaging of frozen crocodile spare ribs imported from Thailand to Hong Kong was discovered to be optimistic for the COVID-19 virus.

CFS acquired a notification from the Centre for Well being Safety of the Division of Well being that among the many environmental samples collected on the residence of a confirmed coronavirus affected person, a check from the product’s packaging was optimistic for the virus.

The company stated the pattern was prone to have been contaminated on the residence of this individual.

CFS collected 103 samples from crocodile merchandise, which included 41 meals and 62 packaging swabs, from storage factors, warehouses and shops of the seller involved for testing. Outcomes confirmed all samples have been adverse for the COVID-19 virus and the implicated firm was allowed to renew product gross sales.

CFS has stepped up precautionary measures, together with enhanced testing of varied kinds of frozen meals and their packaging imported from completely different international locations and areas, which entails taking samples at chilly shops of importers. The company stated it’s going to proceed surveillance on imported frozen meals and packaging to watch the chance of the unfold of the COVID-19 virus by such merchandise.

As much as the tip of Could, greater than 10,000 meals samples and packaging have been collected to check for coronavirus. Outcomes, together with 40 crocodile merchandise imported from Thailand, have been all adverse.

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