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November 22, 2010

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Hygiene fears over supermarket freezers

FREEZERS at some local supermarkets have been operating below safety standards and leading to food hygiene hazards, said the city's commercial market watchdog, which has now taken action to step up routine inspections.

"We are now dispatching portable thermometers to each district office, as inspecting freezers' temperatures is to be made part of the routine quality inspection procedure at supermarkets," an official surnamed Shen with the city's Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said yesterday.

The bureau said the number of random checks on freezers will also increase. The actions are aimed at improving frozen food hygiene conditions.

The bureau said that in a recent investigation covering 22 outlets of 11 supermarket brands, they found temperatures at some frozen food sectors were not low enough to keep food fresh and safe.

"Generally, the freezer section for foodstuffs like drinks and milk should be kept between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius. For the meat section, the temperature needs to be kept at minus 18 degrees," said Chen Liuhong from a local mechanical engineering company.


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