A pork stall at a market in HCM City.
HCM City (VNA) – Researchers at OxfordUniversity Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) have recommended improvements inslaughtering and hygiene to limit cross-contamination with non-typhoidalsalmonella, particularly in poultry wet markets in HCM City.
The researchers made the suggestion after findingnon-typhoidal salmonella contamination in meat at these markets.
Nguyen Thi Nhung, OUCRU’s microbiologist, said that betweenOctober 2016 and March 2017 her research team purchased 117 samples of chickenmeat, beef and pork from retail sites including supermarkets and wet markets.
Tests showed that 68.4 percent of the samples containednon-typhoidal salmonella, which causes gastroenteritis if the meat is notcooked well.
“That’s not too different from previous studies published ininternational journals about Vietnam,” Nhung said “But it’s extremely highcompared with the EU.”
Based on EU 2014 surveillance data, the prevalence ofsalmonella in 25g meat samples was 2.26 percent, 0.6 percent and 0.23 percentfor chicken, pork and beef, respectively, she said.
Respective figures in the OUCRU study released on January 26,with samples from HCM City, were 71.8 percent for chicken, 70.7 percent forpork and 62.2 percent for beef.
While most non-typhoidal salmonella infections areself-limiting, some can become severe depending on the number of salmonellabacteria present, she added.
OUCRU researchers also examined how resistant the salmonellain the meat samples was to antibiotics.
The researchers grew the salmonella isolates in the lab, andthen exposed them to 32 different types of antibiotics.
Up to 52.2 percent of salmonella isolates were multidrugresistant, meaning they showed resistance to at least three antibiotic classes.
It was the first time that bacteria resistant againstcolistin, a last-resort antibiotic, had been identified in meat in Vietnam,Nhung said.
People can become infected with these antibiotic-resistantbacteria when they handle raw meat or undercooked meat, eggs and vegetables,James Ian Campbell, a microbiologist at OUCRU, said.
To avoid infection, people should wash hands after processingmeats and carefully wash raw vegetables, he added.
Juan J.Carrique-Mas, veterinary epidemiologist at OUCRU, saidthat hygiene was critically important during slaughtering and food processing.
To limit the hazard of residues in animal products, moremeasures to promote responsible antimicrobial use in animal production as wellas awareness about withdrawal periods, should be carried out in Vietnamincluding HCM City, Carrique-Mas said.
In a meeting between the Ministry of Health and the FoodSafety Management Authority of HCM City last week, Deputy Minister Nguyen ThanhLong instructed the authority to work with agencies to strictly managetraditional markets.
More attention needs to be paid to breeders, foodstuff forpigs, chickens and other animals, he said.
The city authority is setting up procedures for breeding,transport and slaughter in food safety chains with neighbouring provinces toensure food safety, Long said.
“Bacteria contamination in meat is often caused duringtransport and slaughter,” he said, adding that currently, the city and certainagencies only control the origin of food.
Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the Food Safety Management Authorityof HCM City, said the city would step up enforcement at markets, especially atillegal ones.
The city is piloting a model called Safe Food TraditionalMarket at Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Hoc Mon Wholesale Market at Hoc Mondistrict.
More unannounced inspections will take place in the city, andrapid tests of food including meat will be done every day.
If inspectors find banned chemicals or bacteriacontamination, the sellers will be forced to seal all packages of this food andwill have to contact an independent testing organisation to test the foodagain, Lan said.
The city plans to work with independent testing organisationsto find ways to speed up testing procedures, she added.-VNA
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