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Pasteur Institute Tests Find E. Coli in 100% of Meat Samples Taken From Saigon, Dong Nai

According to a recent test, a worrying amount of meat samples from provinces in Vietnam's southeast contained traces of E. coli.

The test results were presented by the Saigon-based epidemiological facility Pasteur Institute last Friday as part of a forum on public health, reports Tuoi Tre. Researchers collected meat and seafood samples from local markets in Saigon, Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Binh Duong provinces.

The results are shocking: 100% of the meat samples – including two duck samples, 58 chicken samples and 90 pork samples – were contaminated with E. coli. Out of 147 seafood specimens, 94 of them contained the bacteria, amounting to 64%.

E. coli (Escherichia coli) can be found in the environment and the intestines of humans and animals. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are numerous types of E. coli. Most are harmless and “actually are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract.” However, some strains are able to cause gastrointestinal distress, urinary tract infections and even kidney failure in some severe cases.

The report also shows that the levels of E. coli in all 150 meat samples exceed the safety standards stipulated by Vietnam's Ministry of Health. For seafood, 24 samples recorded “high-risk” levels of the bacteria.

The Pasteur Institute also provided some context on the cause of the contamination, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before: unhygienic conditions in slaughterhouses and markets, as well as how the proteins are preserved and treated.

On September 5, Saigon authorities closed down Xuyen A, the city’s biggest slaughterhouse, located in Cu Chi District. The closure came after a major scandal in which more than 3,000 pigs at the facility were found to have been injected with anti-depressants during the slaughtering process.

Most recently, a mass food poisoning also occurred at the An Phu Primary School in District 2 last week. As many as 142 students were hospitalized due to gastrointestinal infections after having lunch at the school.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]


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