CFS announces test results of targeted surveillance of food delivered by online food delivery platforms and food premises offering delivery services (second phase)

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (September 2) announced the test results of a recently completed targeted surveillance on food delivered by online food delivery platforms and food premises offering delivery services (second phase). A total of 200 food samples were collected and all passed the tests.

"The CFS has been closely monitoring the safety of food put up for sale online and collects online food samples (including those purchased from online delivery platforms) for testing under the routine food surveillance programme. In view of the soaring demand for ordering food via online food delivery platforms by the public amid the pandemic, the CFS conducted a targeted surveillance project on food delivered by online food delivery platforms. The results (first phase) have been announced earlier in which 80 samples tested were all satisfactory. In the second phase of the surveillance, the CFS has collected various food types including cold beverages, cold desserts, frozen confections, salad, sushi, sashimi, sandwiches, siu-mei, burgers, dim sum, pizza, rice dishes, noodles and pasta from different online food delivery platforms as well as food premises offering delivery services for microbiological and chemical tests," a spokesman for the CFS said.

Microbiological tests covered different food poisoning pathogens while chemical tests targeted colouring matters, preservatives, and veterinary drug residues.

The CFS reminds food businesses not to prepare meals too far in advance, and deliverers to minimise the time for delivery as far as possible. During the delivery process, temperature control requirements should be followed, keeping hot food hot above 60 degrees Celsius and cold food cold at or below 4 degrees C. If meals cannot be kept at these temperature ranges, the two-hour and four-hour principle should be followed (i.e. if prepared food is kept at room temperature for less than two hours, it can be refrigerated for later use or consumed within the four-hour limit; if prepared food has been held at room temperature for more than four hours, it should be discarded). Food business operators are also encouraged to adopt more proactive measures to prevent tampering with food in the course of the delivery process to safeguard food hygiene.

The CFS also reminded members of the public to take heed of the following advice while ordering and enjoying takeaways and delivered meals:

* Buy foods and order delivered meals from reliable online shops and food premises;
* Avoid raw or undercooked foods such as sushi, which are high-risk foods, particularly for susceptible populations including elderly, young children, people with weakened immunity and pregnant women;
* Refrain from ordering meals that need to be delivered over a long distance, as they are prone to spoilage and contamination without strict control over time and temperature;
* As some takeaway containers cannot withstand high temperatures, use heat-resistant containers if reheating is needed; and
* Check the conditions of foods carefully upon receipt and consume the delivered foods as soon as possible.

Ends/Friday, September 2, 2022