Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Samples of poultry and pork collected from local markets in five southern provinces and cities were reported to be contaminated with the E. coli bacteria due to unhygienic conditions at marketplaces, said Dr Nguyễn Vũ Thượng, deputy director of HCM City’s Pasteur Institute.
He said that a recent test by the institute’s research group on 150 samples of pork, chicken and duck collected from local markets revealed that all meat samples were infected with E. coli.
A further test on 147 seafood samples also found that 94 of them, or 64 per cent, tested positive for E. coli.
The samples were collected from markets in Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Bình Dương, Bình Phước, and Đồng Nai provinces and HCM City between April and August this year.
According to the report, all 150 meat samples had E. coli levels exceeding the allowed limit stipulated by the Ministry of Health.
Of the 94 E. coli-contaminated seafood samples, 24 had a high-risk level.
The meat was infected due to poor sanitary conditions at slaughterhouses and marketplaces, as well as during food processing, Thượng said.
In addition, dirty water sources, tools used in slaughtering and processing food are also part of the problem causing food to be contaminated with E. coli and other harmful microorganisms.
He also said that most types of E. coli were harmless but some strains could cause diarrhea, so slaughterhouses as well as fresh food traders should strictly adhere to the food safety regulations.
According to Phạm Khánh Phong Lan, head of the Food Safety Management Board in HCM City, the 150 samples taken from these provinces and cities was not enough to identify that all fresh foods from these five regions were infected with E. coli and unsafe. However, this has raised the alarm on food safety issues.
The localities should strengthen their management of slaughterhouses, food transportation and distribution of fresh food, Lan said.
She also suggested closing unsafe slaughterhouses, temporary markets and develop a pilot model market to ensure food safety. — VNS