Test results of cart noodles released

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) recently collected 292 samples of various ingredients and mixed dishes of cart noodles from about 130 premises including cooked food stalls, food factories and restaurants for chemical and microbiological tests.

In the results announced today (April 27), except for a sample of cattle offal, which was found to contain Salmonella, all the other samples passed the tests.

The samples of the popular cart noodle food items included:

* meat, poultry and products, such as pig skin, pig intestine, pork ball, pork sausage, beef flank and cattle offal;
* aquatic products, such as fish ball, fried fish skin, curry fish ball, curry squid, cuttlefish ball and octopus;
* cereal and products, such as thick noodles, thin noodles, rice noodles and fried tofu;
* vegetables, legumes and products, such as lettuce, Chinese chives; water spinach, winter mushroom and soybean sheet;
* soup bases and sauces, such as curry sauce, beef flank sauce and satay sauce;
* dumplings, such as wanton, fish skin dumpling and dumpling;
* mixed dishes, which included cart noodles of various noodles and ingredients.

Chemical analyses included colouring matters, mineral oil, preservatives and antioxidants. Microbiological tests covered pathogens such as Bacillus cereus, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli O157.

As the unsatisfactory sample in this survey was related to pathogen, the CFS reminded the food trade to follow hygienic practices to safeguard food safety.

Raw food and ready-to-eat food should be handled separately to prevent cross contamination. Food should be properly stored (at either 4 degrees Celsius or below, or above 60 degrees Celsius) and cooked thoroughly.

"Salmonella is a pathogen. Unhygienic food processing and improper food storage may cause cross contamination and give rise to bacterial growth. Consuming food contaminated with Salmonella may cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhoea," a CFS spokesman said.

"The unsatisfactory sample was collected from a restaurant. We have taken follow-up action, including issuing a warning letter."

Ends/Monday, April 27, 2009