Centre for Food Safety finds unacceptable coliform and bacteria levels in ice cream

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 June, 2009, 12:00am

Ice cream samples containing coliform organisms more than six times the legal limit and a bacteria count some 12 times the allowed level have been found in recent Centre for Food Safety tests.

Among the offenders was a sundae sample, taken from a McDonald's restaurant in Tin Chak Shopping Centre, Tin Shui Wai, found to contain 160 coliform organisms per gram, well above the legal limit of 100 per gram.

A sample of soft ice cream taken from a Circle K store in Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, also failed the test, with 170 coliform organisms per gram.

Neither McDonald's nor Circle K had replied to inquires last night.

Coliform organisms come from faecal contamination and can cause gastroenteritis.

The centre took 550 ice cream and frozen confection samples for microbiological quality tests. Nine failed tests for coliform organisms or total bacterial count, the centre said. Ice cream should not contain more than 50,000 bacteria per gram.

Green tea, with a bacteria count of 630,000 per gram, and mango ice cream scoop samples, taken from an Appolo Magic House store in Tai Po Plaza, failed as did samples from the store's outlets in Hoi Lai Estate, Sham Shui Po, and Yat Tung Estate Tung Chung. A bean curd ice cream scoop and a sesame ice cream, taken from A-1 Bakery in Tai Po Centre, also failed.

A centre spokesman said the high levels of bacteria and coliform organisms could be from a lack of hygiene during processing. The centre has issued warning letters to the shops.