Evaluations of time-temperature exposure of each stage of the preparation of char siu (marinated roast pork) were made at six Chinese restaurants and a market. These evaluations were also made of roast pork at the market. Samples of these products at the various stages of preparation and swabs of equipment surfaces that the pork touched during preparation were tested for Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus. The water activity of other samples was also determined. Temperatures attained at the geometric center of these pork products during roasting in ovens or after cooking ceased were such that vegetative pathogenic food borne bacteria should have been killed, if present. The cooked products were often displayed in warming cabinets or window counters at which time their temperatures were within a range that would permit rapid bacterial growth for several hours. Reheating of leftover pork was inadequate to destroy pathogenic microorganisms that grew or toxins that were produced during storage. The water activity of char siu was frequently at a level that would increase the bacterial lag phase and slow the rate of growth of pathogenic bacteria from optimum. A few samples of char siu were contaminated by low numbers of C. perfringens and a sample of raw and roast pork with S. aureus. There were opportunities for contamination of cooked pork products during preparation, particularly at the market. Critical control points for these operations--handling after cooking, hot-holding, cooling and reheating--are given along with measures for controlling and monitoring these points.

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Author notes

1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.

2Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Olympia, Washington 98504.

3Hawaii State Department of Health, Honolulu, Hawaii 96801.