No egg on face for Hong Kong sandwich sellers
On Friday, Hong Kong’s food safety watchdog announced the results of a recently completed risk assessment study on the microbiological quality of sandwiches, with the overall result satisfactory.
The study found all samples tested compliant with the Centre for Food Safety’s microbiological food safety criteria for pathogenic bacteria, including Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus.
One hundred sandwich samples containing high-risk ingredients - eggs, cheeses, hams, fresh produce - were collected from different retail outlets. They were then assessed for their microbiological quality against the criteria stipulated in Microbiological Guidelines for Food.
The center said the study results showed that all samples were compliant with the microbiological food safety criteria for pathogenic bacteria.
It noted that one scrambled egg sandwich sample was found to have an excessive total bacterial count, which might be the result of improper practices.
However, a center spokesperson said the total bacterial count is not a food safety indicator but a quality indicator, in which excessive total bacterial count will not cause food safety concerns.
“Sandwiches are considered potentially hazardous foods because pathogenic bacteria may be present in some common ingredients such as eggs, salad dressing, sliced deli meats, and raw vegetables. Moreover, sandwiches may be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria from human skin because sandwich preparation often involves manual handling of ready-to-eat ingredients,” the spokesperson added.