Salmonella poisons Hoi An banh mi shop

By Dac Thanh   September 23, 2023 | 08:35 am PT
Salmonella poisons Hoi An banh mi shop
Food sold at the Ms. Phuong banh mi shop in Hoi An Town, Quang Nam is stored inside glass cabinets, December 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Salmonella bacterial contamination gave 313 people food poisoning after eating food from a banh mi eatery in Hoi An Town, the Quang Nam health department announced Saturday.

Mai Van Muoi, director of the Quang Nam Department of Health, said the food poisoning came from the char siu (BBQ pork) and the various herbs and vegetables in banh mi samples taken from Ms. Phuong, a famous eatery in Hoi An. The results came from the analysis of food samples and fecal samples of patients at the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute.

The department said a total of 3,600 people bought banh mi from the eatery on September 11 and September 12. Later, 313 of said customers suffered the symptoms of food poisoning. The number included 103 foreigners. And 273 people had to be hospitalized, all of whom have since been discharged. There were no deaths associated with the incident.

An investigation revealed that the pork at the banh mi shop was bought from a woman named Lieu at the Hoi An market, and the shop cooked the pork itself. The herbs and vegetables were bought from various people at the Hoi An market, and they were washed with water, without soaking them in saltwater.

Muoi said authorities would work with the Ms. Phuong shop, and propose fines in accordance with existing regulations.

Salmonella is among the top causes of gastrointestinal diseases, and can cause symptoms like high fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and violent diarrhea. The bacteria can survive in water for two to three weeks and in excrement for two to three months, but is destroyed within five minutes at 100 degrees Celsius or with common disinfectants.

The owner of the shop, Truong Thi Phuong, 60, told VnExpress that she personally supervises the entire process of buying raw materials and processing and selling them every day.

Ms. Phuong has been selling banh mi, the typical Vietnamese baguette sandwich, for 34 years, and her shop is popular among foreign tourists. The eatery has temporarily closed following the incident.

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