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