Consumers urged not to consume a kind of pre-packed frozen smoked trout from Britain

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (September 16) urged the public not to consume a kind of pre-packed frozen smoked trout imported from Britain as the product was vulnerable to Clostridium botulinum due to defects in its vacuum packaging procedure. Although the use-by date of the affected product has passed, the CFS, for prudence sake, urged consumers who have bought and still possess the following batch of the product not to consume it:

Product name: Inverawe Smoked Trout
Place of origin: Britain
Weight: 100 grams
Use-by date: Between May 30 and September 1, 2014 (instructions on the product labelling allow for storage of up to three months)

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The Centre today received notification from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the European Commission that the packaging defects of the above-mentioned smoked trout may allow Clostridium botulinum to grow and cause food poisoning. Although no trace of Clostridium botulinum has been found in the affected product and the use-by date of the product concerned has passed, the British manufacturer has initiated a precautionary recall. A small amount of the affected product has been imported to Hong Kong."

     The CFS has contacted the importer concerned in Hong Kong, City Super Limited, and learnt that the affected product was sold out. For enquiries about the recall, consumers may call the company's hotline (2736 3866) during office hours. The CFS will also alert the trade of the incident to ensure that the affected product will not enter the local market.

     "Clostridium botulinum needs no oxygen to multiply.  Some strains of Clostridium botulinum can grow at refrigeration temperature.  Canned, bottled or vacuum-packed foods, which are improperly processed will provide suitable environment for the bacterium to grow and produce toxin in these products. The toxin can be destroyed by heating at 80 degrees Celsius for more than 10 minutes.  Most foodborne botulism cases are caused by the ingestion of pre-formed toxin that is already present in food which was consumed without further cooking or reheating.  Symptoms of intoxication include marked fatigue, weakness, and vertigo, often followed by blurred vision and difficulty in speaking and swallowing. The toxin may paralyse the breathing muscles and even cause death," the spokesman said.

     He urged consumers not to consume the affected batch of the smoked trout that are still in their possession. Medical advice should be sought if they feel sick after consuming the product concerned.

     The CFS will continue to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up actions.

Ends/Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:52