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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 91, Issue 5, pp 386–389 | Cite as

Chinese-style Barbecued Meats: A Public Health Challenge

  • Jane YingEmail author
Article

Abstract

The custom of displaying Chinese-style barbecued meats at room temperature has been a controversial food safety issue in North America. This article is intended to facilitate development of a risk-based food safety policy for this unique food by providing a brief overview of the recent study findings and Canadian disease surveillance data. Despite the lack of temperature control after cooking, Chinese barbecued meats were rarely implicated in foodborne incidents in Canada between 1975 and 1993. This might be due to the food’s ability to delay pathogen growth during the first 5 hours immediately after cooking, and the conventional trade practices of separating the retail area from the main kitchen (i.e., reducing risk of cross-contamination). However, recent studies also pointed out the high potential for cross-contamination during the retail stage (i.e., chopping and packaging the food) as a result of lack of proper handwashing and equipment sanitation. A risk-based food safety policy is proposed.

Résumé

L’habitude de présenter à la température de la pièce des viandes cuites au barbecue à la chinoise est une question qui suscite de la controverse en Amérique du Nord. Cette coutume représente-t-elle un risque pour la santé? Cet article a pour but de favoriser l’élaboration d’une politique basée sur la sécurité des aliments, pour ce qui est de cet aliment particulier, en donnant un bref aperçu des conclusions de récentes études et des données de surveillance des maladies au Canada. En dépit du manque de contrôle des températures après la cuisson, les viandes cuites à la broche à la chinoise sont rarement en cause dans des intoxications d’origine alimentaire au Canada entre 1975 et 1993. Cette situation peut résulter de la capacité de l’aliment de retarder la croissance de pathogènes durant les cinq premières heures qui suivent la cuisson et de la pratique commerciale qui consiste à séparer l’aire de vente au détail de la cuisine principale (ce qui a pour effet de réduire les risques de contamination croisée). De récentes études ont toutefois démontré le risque élevé de contamination à l’étape du détail (lors du découpage et de l’emballage des viandes) en raison du manque de désinfection de l’équipement et du fait que les préposés négligent de se laver les mains. Il est donc proposé d’adopter une politique de sécurité alimentaire basée sur les risques.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Promotion and Environmental Protection OfficeToronto Public HealthTorontoCanada

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