Hong Kong officials warn of Bacillus cereus tainted bean curd - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (April 10) announced that during its follow-up investigation into the recent detection of a sample of bottled preserved bean curd contaminated with Bacillus cereus, another sample in the same batch was also detected to have excessive Bacillus cereus. In view of this, the CFS reminded those who have bought and still possess the affected batch of the product not to consume it. Although the importer/distributor concerned has conducted a recall of the affected batch of the product according to CFS’ instruction last week, the trade is reminded again to stop selling the affected product.

Image/Kikuchi

Image/Kikuchi

Details of the product are as follows:

Product name: Giant Tree salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili (with sesame oil)
Place of origin: China
Best before date: March 1, 2017
Net weight: 130 grams

“A sample of the above product, collected at a supermarket in Yuen Long, was found to be contaminated with Bacillus cereus last week. During follow-up investigation on the same day, the CFS collected another sample from the same batch of the product from another supermarket in Yuen Long for testing. The test result showed that the sample contained Bacillus cereus at a level of 200,000 per gram,” a CFS spokesman said.

Upon notification of the contamination of the affected batch of bottled preserved bean curd with Bacillus cereus last week, the Centre urged the public and the trade not to eat or sell the product in question, and contacted the importer/distributor concerned immediately to trace the distribution of the food item concerned and instructed it to recall the affected batch of the product. CFS staff also conducted inspections at local retail outlets afterwards and no affected product was found available for sale.

According to the “Microbiological Guidelines for Food”, it is potentially injurious to health or unfit for human consumption if a gram of ready-to-eat food contains more than 100 000 of Bacillus cereus.

Bacillus cereus is a well recognized and common cause of food poisoning (bacterial intoxication or toxin-mediated infection) worldwide.  It is commonly found in low levels in raw, dried and processed foods.  The bacterium causes two types of toxins: a diarrheal type and a vomiting type.

The diarrheal type of this food poisoning is usually associated with meats, milk and vegetables. The onset for the disease is from 8-16 hours and it lasts 12 to 14 hours.

The vomiting type of this food poisoning is due to rice, grains, cereals and other starchy foods. The onset is quite rapid (30 minutes to 6 hours) and usually lasts a day or so. This type is frequently associated with outbreaks due to cooked rice held at room temperature.

This type of food poisoning is rarely fatal and cannot be transmitted from person to person. Prevention is properly cooking of food, and if not consumed, rapid cooling prior to storage. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

Consumers are advised to seek medical advice if they feel sick upon consumption of the product concerned. The CFS has not received any reports or complaints of persons feeling unwell after consumption of the product concerned in the past three months.

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