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Import and sale of raw oysters harvested from Canada's Vancouver Island or produced by Canadian manufacturer Pacific Rim Shellfish (2003) Corp prohibited

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (April 28) that the import into and sale within Hong Kong of raw oysters harvested from Vancouver Island, Canada or produced by a manufacturer in Canada, namely Pacific Rim Shellfish (2003) Corp, has been prohibited with immediate effect.

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS was notified by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health of a number of food poisoning outbreaks which involved consumption of raw oysters at five different restaurants. The CFS has conducted follow-up investigation at the restaurants concerned. Initial investigations showed that the five restaurants had sold Canadian raw oysters supplied by the same supplier. The restaurants and the supplier concerned confirmed that they did not have any remaining stock of the affected raw oysters. According to the information provided by the supplier concerned, the affected raw oysters were harvested in Vancouver Island, Canada (including FAO Area 67 BC 14-8; 14-15; 23-6) and produced by a Canadian manufacturer, Pacific Rim Shellfish (2003) Corp (Address: 1807 Mast Tower Road, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3X7). For the sake of prudence, the CFS has immediately banned the import into and sale within Hong Kong of all raw oysters harvested from Vancouver Island, Canada or produced by the manufacturer concerned."

     The CFS has followed up with the supplier concerned and instructed it to stop supplying and selling the affected raw oysters immediately, and to trace the distribution of the affected product. The trade should also stop using or selling the product concerned immediately should they still possess it.
     The spokesman pointed out that as oysters feed by filtering a large volume of seawater, pathogens (such as norovirus), chemical contaminants or natural toxins can accumulate in them if they are grown in or harvested from contaminated water. Regardless of the season or the region in which the oysters are harvested, consuming oysters, particularly raw or partially cooked ones, carries an inherent food safety risk. Susceptible groups, such as pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems or liver diseases, should avoid eating raw oysters.
     The CFS has informed the Canadian authorities of the import ban and will also notify the local trade. It will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action to safeguard food safety and public health.

Ends/Thursday, April 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:56


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