Shanghai ups food hygiene; coliform found in cakes
Source of Article: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iQ5Hc7jLCByjQE6WhO2GSTdgERYwD95QV4LO2
SHANGHAI (AP) — Shanghai's
health authorities plan to issue new rules requiring big stores to ensure
shopping baskets and carts are clean, after finding that most are
contaminated with potentially hazardous molds and bacteria, state-run media
The new rules coincide with fresh outbreaks of bird flu in parts of China. They
also come amid reports that inspectors recently found coliform
bacteria in cream cakes from several local bakery chains.
The Shanghai Health Supervision Agency plans to issue new cleanliness
standards for shopping baskets and carts later this year, the state-run
newspaper Shanghai Daily reported.
Spot checks in various parts of the city of more than 20 million people
found that most shopping carts and baskets were contaminated with mold, and
many carried bacteria that could cause food poisoning, the report said.
shoppers often find baskets visibly grimy and shopping carts littered with
rubbish from previous users. At big supermarkets, frozen poultry is often
sold as is, and some shoppers just put the whole frozen chickens — feet and
all — into their shopping carts unwrapped.
"We also want consumers to be more aware of the problem. For
instance, it is important to wash hands after returning from the
supermarket," the report quoted agency official Mo Weiwen
The new rules will include new standards and disinfection guidelines, Mo
"According to our company's policy, we check the baskets and carts
everyday, as they are used a lot and easily get dirty," said a branch
manager at the Zhenbei branch of the French-owned
hypermarket chain, Carrefour SA.
The manager, who like many Chinese would give
only her surname, Han, did not say if the retailer was routinely cleaning the
carts and baskets.
Apart from occasional outbreaks of food poisoning and a slew of food
safety scandals, public health officials have vowed to step up precautions to
prevent the potential spread of bird flu.
At least three human deaths from the H5N1 strain of the virus have been
reported this month, and one of the victims' children, a 2-year-old girl, was
said to be in critical condition after falling ill on Jan. 7.
Meanwhile, the city's consumer rights commission said that cakes from
several major bakery chains had failed tests because they contained high
levels of coliform bacteria, the Shanghai Daily and
other newspapers said.
Coliform bacteria do not cause food poisoning
but they are a sign of fecal contamination that can.
researcher Ji Chen contributed to this report.