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CFS proactively follows up on suspected food poisoning cases involving Taiwan sandwiches

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, upon notification of suspected food poisoning cases related to the consumption of Taiwan's "Hung Rui Chen" (Horng Ryen Jen) (in case of any problem with the transliteration, the name in Chinese shall prevail) sandwiches, has been proactively following up the incident, including tracing the sources and distribution of the affected food, and inspecting local retail outlets. Up till today (August 5), no affected product has been found on sale in Hong Kong.

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "Upon each notification by the Centre for Health Protection, the CFS has immediately sent staff to inspect the retail outlets concerned (eight retail outlets and two collection points for online purchases have been inspected so far). No remaining stock of the affected product has been found. The vendors concerned have stopped sale of the affected product immediately upon CFS' advice. The CFS has also followed up with two importers concerned who have subsequently stopped supplying and distributing the relevant product."

     "Furthermore, the CFS has followed up with five other importers over the supply and distribution of the incriminated food and inspected over 110 retail outlets selling Taiwan food in the past few days. No similar food of the relevant brand have been found on sale."

     On safeguarding public health, the spokesman said the CFS issued a press release on August 2 urging members of the public and the trade to stop consuming and selling the affected products. And basing on the information gathered from investigation, the CFS further imposed a ban on the import into and sale within Hong Kong of all "Hung Rui Chen" (Horng Ryen Jen) sandwiches on August 3. Furthermore, the CFS has uploaded the food safety messages regarding the microbiological risks of sandwiches onto CFS' website and Facebook page.

     The spokesman noted that up till now, the CFS has not received any suspected food poisoning cases related to the consumption of such product after July 31. Since sandwiches are perishable food items and the CFS has already suspended the import and sale of the affected product, it is believed that further food poisoning cases arising from consumption of this product after the abovementioned date is unlikely.

     The CFS urged members of the public again not to consume the affected product, regardless of batches and flavours. The trade should also stop using or selling the product concerned immediately.

     According to Section 54 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132), all food for sale in Hong Kong, whether locally produced or imported, should be fit for human consumption. An offender is subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction.

     The CFS has supplied some information gathered during investigation to the Taiwan authority for follow-up and is seeking relevant information from them. Meanwhile, the CFS continues to step up inspections to local retail outlets (including online shops), liaise with the local trade, trace the source of the incriminated food, and take action as appropriate.

Ends/Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:29


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