8 cases of food poisoning in Central Visayas blamed on spoiled lechon
CEBU CITY––The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) has cautioned people about the proper handling of lechon or roasted pig, which has caused several cases of food poisoning in the region.
In May alone, DOH-7 recorded at least eight cases of food poisoning in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, and Negros Oriental, according to Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, chief of the Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit.
All eight cases, she said, were blamed on eating spoiled lechon.
“Families went out to picnic, went to the beach, so they packed lechon and then ate it for lunch. When they returned home, they reported gastrointestinal symptoms or diarrhea,” Cañal said in an interview on Tuesday.
Health officials advised the public to observe the proper preparation, handling, and serving of lechon, or this may become a breeding ground for bacteria that causes gastrointestinal problems.
Cañal said lechon could cause food poisoning if not handled well.
“Lechon is oily. If not properly prepared, like it is packed while it is still hot, this creates moisture and causes bacteria to grow,” she said.
Cañal said food poisoning might lead to dehydration if not immediately.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH regional director, said the public should be careful not to use their hands in picking pieces of the lechon to prevent germs from spoiling the food.
Bernadas said people should instead reheat, fry, or cook lechon paksiw for the leftover before repacking them.
“Once the lechon is served on the table, people take turns to eat it with bare hands. Then the lechon is left on top of the table, and that increases chances of contamination,” he said in Cebuano.
Bernadas suggested serving lechon chopped to avoid contamination.
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