Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island Photo: Google Maps

Food inspectors found excessive levels of a pathogen that can cause gastrointestinal reactions in a meal tested at a fast food shop in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island after responding to a complaint.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) said Thursday the bacillus cereus  pathogen was in a sample of rice vermicelli consumed with roast duck at Kyoto Plaza, news website HK01.com reported.

Tests showed that the sample contained the pathogen at a level of 230,000 per gram. Under the Microbiological Guidelines for Food, a ready-to-eat dish containing bacillus cereus at a level of more than 100,000 per gram is considered unsatisfactory.

According to a government release, bacillus cereus is commonly found in the environment but unhygienic conditions in food processing and storage could allow it grow. Having excessive levels of the pathogen may lead to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

The fast food shop accepted that the rice vermicelli dish was contaminated and suspended sales of the affected food in all outlets after being informed by the CFS. It was asked to review and improve  food production processes and carry out a thorough cleaning and disinfection.