E.coli in some food vendor samples

14 Mar 2013

E.coli and Salmonella are among the bacterial nasties some mobile food vendors with poor hygiene practices are exposing customers to, according to a new study.

Samples gathered at music festivals, sporting events, concerts and fairs found chopping boards, cleaning cloths, food and water were contaminated with a range of bacteria including Staphylococcus and E.coli, which originates from human or animal faeces and whose presence indicates poor hygiene, under-cooking or cross-contamination.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the results showed 8% of food samples were "unsatisfactory" with 1% containing "potentially hazardous" levels of bacteria which also included Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens.

More than a quarter (27%) of water samples contained unacceptable levels of coliform bacteria, which can be a sign of contamination from faeces and is also found in soil, water and on plants.

E.coli and/or enterococci bacteria, which is also of faecal origin, were found in 8% of samples while three-fifths of the chopping boards tested didn't meet required standards.

The HPA said food poisoning caused by the bacteria found was most commonly caused when food - particularly meat - was cooked and then kept warm for several hours before being eaten.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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