Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Most sandwiches unsafe

Most sandwiches unsafe

Most sandwiches unsafe

most.jpg
most.jpg

Meat on the move - in the boot of a car.

P

oor hygiene practices mean that the majority of meat-based sandwiches sold on the

streets of Phnom Penh are bacterially contaminated, according to a year-long study

conducted by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge and health officials.

Dr Koeut Meach is vice director at the Municipal Health Department (MHD), and worked

with the institute on the study. He blamed contaminated meat used in the sandwiches,

and said that those who eat contaminated sandwiches risk stomach pains, diarrhea,

vomiting and fever.

The MHD worked with four pate makers to ensure their products were safe. The vendors

were taught practical hygiene measures such as proper meat storage.

Mol Chanda, health promotion administrator, said that his researchers analyzed the

pate on a weekly basis and did medical examinations on the workers. He said that

these vendors' pate products, which are still analyzed monthly, were safe.

While the MHD focused only on meat production, the Institut Pasteur concentrated

on the entire sandwich production process, part of the organisation's probe into

food safety. For the first part in the four-phase study, which began in July 2000,

the institute selected six vendors and checked the levels of bacteria in their sandwiches.

Among the catalogue of contamination, they found strains of bacteria such as staphylococcus

aureus, salmonella, ecoli, and fecal coliforms (colon bacteria).

First phase results showed that 25 per cent of the sandwiches were of good quality,

which meant these could be consumed without a health risk. Phase two started in October,

2000 with two sites selected. After notifying sandwich vendors of the impending test,

the institute found that 30 per cent of the sandwiches were of good quality.

For the third phase the institute selected only two vendors and implemented, in December

2000, its Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). The HACCP process allows

scrutiny of each step of the sandwich-making process.

After implementing HACCP, the percentage of safe sandwiches increased first to 45

per cent and then to 50 per cent. However, the institute noticed a drop to 40 percent

during the next phase, but as it has not yet tabulated the results, it is not sure

of the reasons.

MHD's Meach emphasised that it was not only meat that contributed to bacterial contamination:

ingredients such as fermented and fresh vegetables, mayonnaise, and seasonings could

also cause illness.

The report recommended that ingredients be stored and handled carefully and vendors

taught hygienic practices such as wearing aprons and keeping fingernails short.

To spread the message more widely, Meach and Chanda screened a television program

to educate people about the importance of hygienic practices.

Although the Institut Pasteur and the Municipal Health Department have worked with

some sandwich and pate vendors, there is no guarantee that sandwiches bought on the

street are safe.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the