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Restaurants get food safety alerts

THOUSANDS of restaurants in the city received short messages yesterday advising them there was a 15 to 24-percent possibility of bacterial food poisoning in the city for the day.

The yellow alert was sent out by Shanghai's food safety and weather authorities as part of a new warning system.

The alert level has been lowered to blue or normal for today and tomorrow.

A red alert, the highest, means there is a 25-percent or higher risk of bacterial food poisoning.

The alerts can be found on the Website of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration but there is no English service yet.

It's the third time that the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration has linked with the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau to issue food poisoning alerts since the system began on June 1.

The plum rain season is prone to attract bacterial food poisoning with high temperatures and humidity, said Zhang Lei, an official from the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.

Bacteria is the cause of three-quarters of the cases of local mass food poisoning. From 1992 to 2006, there were 608 cases of food poisoning involving 10 or more people each time - 458 of these cases were caused by bacteria.

On average, there are 19 days where there are red-alert conditions and up to 45 yellow-alert days each year in the city.


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