100 percent of meat samples in Saigon, southern neighbors infected with E. coli: study

By Staff reporters   December 11, 2017 | 07:49 pm PT
150 duck, chicken and pork samples contained levels of the dangerous bacterium beyond the national safety limits.

Sweeping food hygiene tests in Saigon and four neighboring provinces revealed that all the samples of meat taken contained excessive amounts of the highly dangerous bacterium E. coli.

The research team took 150 duck, chicken and pork samples as well as 147 samples of bivalvia mollusks including clams and oysters from markets in the city and its neighbors Ba Ria-Vung Vau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai between April and August this year.

They found the E. coli levels exceeded the national safety limit in all the meat samples and 64 percent of the clam samples.

The team from the Pasteur Institute in Saigon revealed the results at a recent conference, saying the tests demonstrate a massive threat from fresh and raw food sold at wet markets in the region.

They suggested that the whole supply chain from the slaughterhouses to the processors and vendors has poor hygiene protocols, and that authorities need to enhance surveillance of these practices.

Consumers are advised to cook their food thoroughly to reduce the risk of infection, they said.

E. coli is a rod-shaped, coliform bacterium of the genus Escherichia that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but virulent strains can cause serious food poisoning, urinary tract infections, neonatal meningitis or hemorrhagic colitis.

Food safety is a national concern in Vietnam.

Official government data showed food poisoning killed 22 people and hospitalized 3,147 others in the first 11 months this year, almost twice the figure from a year ago.

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