Nation's 5 biggest breakfast shops fall short in magazine's sanitation checks

Friday, March 2, 2012
The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff--All five of Taiwan's top five breakfast franchises fell short in sanitation checks commissioned by the “Common Health Magazine” (康健雜誌).

Health officials and nutritionists sampled 45 products in 15 branches of Taiwan's top five breakfast franchises, according to Wu Ying-rong (吳映蓉) of Taipei Medical University's School of Nutrition and Health Sciences.

Workers at all 15 breakfast joints were seen violating health protocol. At every breakfast joint, some staff failed to wash their hands between handling cash and touching food, or closing the refrigerator and touching food. Sixty percent of staff did not wash hands between handling a dishcloth and touching food.

At least 87 percent of staff at the 15 joints did not wear facemasks and hats.

These bad habits have a serious impact on safety, said Wu yesterday.

As for the food itself? Fourteen of the 45 breakfast products — about 30 percent — contained levels of microbial biomass high enough to potentially cause gastroenteritis and even food poisoning.

Nine products contained excessive levels of fecal coliform bacteria, an indicator of contamination by pathogens.

Products were generally greasy or low in fiber, said Wu. Soy milk, milk tea, other breakfast drinks contained high sugar levels, which are not ideal for breakfast foods.

The survey was conducted between Jan. 9 and Feb. 4, between 7-10 a.m.

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