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Tips for food safety during the Spring Festival of 2018

(chinadaily.com.cn) 2018-02-09 Print Mail Share

At the end of 2017, the traditional Spring Festival of 2018 is just around the corner. Consumers will make a large amount of holiday purchases and food consumption will enter a peak period because of the increased family reunion dinners, frequent parties and gatherings. 

Xixian New Area Market Service and Supervision Administration has some food safety tips here for our citizens in order to ensure a happy, harmonious and healthy Spring Festival. Please pay attention to food safety, improve food handling awareness, consume foods in a careful way to prevent food poisoning during the holiday.

First, purchase edible agricultural products carefully. It is recommended to buy fresh edible agricultural products on demand and serve them as soon as possible in order to maintain the nutrients and flavor. When purchasing, attention should be paid to the diversification of food types to promote the balanced absorption of various substances by the human body. 

Purchases should be made in supermarkets with formal business qualifications, and authorized wholesale markets for edible agro-products and agro-product markets that provide fruits and vegetables wholesale and retail services, and are far away from pollution sources. You should request a purchase invoice and keep it.

When buying fresh meat, you should check the inspection and quarantine certificate for animal products and the inspection and quarantine seals on the meat carcass, and don't forget to ask vendors for the sales certificate. Keep it for use in case rights defending occurs. 

Do not purchase fruits and vegetables with unusual colors, shapes and smells.  Be sure to purchase fresh fish and eggs based on the physical elasticity and eye color of fish and translucency of egg shells. The edible agricultural products will be more fresher under cold storage than under room temperature. However, different varieties should be kept separately as far as possible to avoid cross-contamination of microorganisms.

Second, purchase safe food. Be sure to buy food from supermarkets, shopping malls, shops and markets with a good reputation, standardized management and all required licenses. 

When purchasing pre-packaged foods in markets, you should choose fresh food and do not buy non-fresh fruits, vegetables and aquatic products, and livestock that died of illness or unknown causes. Purchase cooked foods and pot-stewed products from shops with all necessary licenses. The name and address of of suppliers, the production date and shelf life and other information on the label of packaged products should be checked. Consumption vouchers such as the purchase invoice should be well kept.

Third, improve the awareness of dining safety. Dine in places with a clean environment, strong reputation, high food safety grades, and also with a food business license and health certificates for employees. 

It is best to sign detailed contracts with suppliers when ordering family dinners. It is necessary to clearly define the price, the name of dishes, the number of seats, the additional services, the settlement method and the liability for breach of contract.

Rinsing fruits and vegetables after submerging them in clear water can effectively reduce pesticide residues. Meat and aquatic products should be thoroughly cooked to avoid the harmful effects of pathogenic bacteria and parasites on the human body. Do not eat fruits and vegetables, livestock and poultry and aquatic products that are not fresh in sense, and non-decaying parts of partially decayed fruits and vegetables to prevent residual harmful substances from invading the human body. 

Serve cooked foods and pot-stewed products immediately after cooking and eat cold dishes with caution, better to eat less of them. Be careful of the cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods when eating at a buffet. Make sure that foods are completely cooked when eating hot pot while vegetables shouldn't be cooked for too long, and containers, tools and equipment for raw and cooked foods should be used separately. 

It's not recommended to try foods that are not common or have never been eaten before, such as novel foods and game, and allergenic foods, especially for the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

Food ingredients and cooking and processing methods used by catering service organizations such as canteens and restaurants and their catering environments  must comply with safety and hygiene requirements. Do not use food additives indiscriminately in food producing. 

It is strictly forbidden to use non-food Chinese herbal medicines as raw materials for processing food. In order to prevent accidental eating and misuse, toxic and harmful chemicals such as nitrite cannot be stored in the processing or dining places in canteens, restaurants, etc. 

Fourth, purchase dietary supplements rationally. Consumers should buy dietary supplements from suppliers with a good reputation and complete licenses and certificates. 

When purchasing, you should check the dietary supplements labeling and the approval number, carefully examine the name, address, contact number of the factory, the production date, expiration date, etc., and keep the purchase invoice and relevant documents in good condition. 

Be sure to carefully read the instruction manual to see if there are any contraindications. Do not blindly participate in any lectures on health knowledge, expert reports, etc., which are for the purpose of product sales. Do not blindly purchase dietary supplements through conference sales, telephone sales, free trials, etc. Do not purchase illegal dietary supplements without labeling. Dietary supplements cannot replace medicines, and patients with diseases must not use dietary supplements instead of medicines in order to avoid any delays.

Fifth, purchase imported foods from legal sources. It is recommended that consumers should take into consideration of China's dietary structure and individual dietary habits and identify whether the content of essential ingredients such as energy and nutrients indicated by imported foods is fit for individual conditions. 

Purchase imported foods correctly and rationally. Consumers should check the label and certificate when purchasing imported prepackaged foods. You should examine whether there are Chinese labels on food packaging. Imported foods from legal sources are equipped with Chinese labels in line with China's laws and regulations and national food safety standards. 

The Chinese label should state the name of the food, country of origin or region, production date, shelf life, the name, address and contact information of the importer or distributor. The Chinese label for imported infant formula milk powder sold in the market has been printed directly on the smallest sales package before entering the country. The certificate refers to the entry inspection and quarantine certificate issued by the inspection and quarantine department. The department shall issue an "inspection and quarantine certificate for entry goods" for each batch of imported food that has passed the inspection and quarantine. 

If consumers find any quality and safety problems with the imported food, they can complain to the food and drug supervision and management department at the place of purchase. The purchase certificate can be used for returns, replacements and claims if the problems are confirmed.

Sixth, shop online for food reasonably. When purchasing food, edible agricultural products, imported foods, semi-finished products or ordering foods online, consumers should examine the qualifications and food safety related licenses of network platforms and sellers and the production dates and shelf life of products. 

Order food from places nearby in order to shorten the delivery time. Check the the packaging and ingredients quality after receiving food, and process and consume them as soon as possible. Do not store food for a long time. Try not to buy high-risk foods such as cold dishes, raw foods (such as sashimi, ready-made salads, etc.) and cold-processed pastries (such as creamy cakes and tiramisu cakes).

Seventh, strengthen self-protection awareness. Ask for receipts, invoices and other documents when purchasing food and dining and store them properly. Stop eating suspicious food immediately when symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting occur and save the food for later inspection. You should go to an accredited medical institution as soon as possible to seek medical treatment and keep medical records, reports and other related documents. Don’t forget to reach out to the food supplier involved and report to the relevant local authorities. Medical institutions should protect the scene of the accident while treating emergency patients, in order to facilitate relevant departments to conduct on-site investigation and proper handling.

Call 12331 or 12345 to report your complaints if any food safety problems were found in food production and operation organizations.

Shaanxi Xixian New Area Market Service and Supervision Administration

Feb 8, 2018