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CFS urges public not to consume prepackaged flour with possible E. coli contamination
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (July 27) urged the public not to consume a kind of prepackaged flour imported from the United States (US) as the product might have been contaminated with Escherichia coli (E. coli). The trade should also stop using or selling the product concerned immediately.

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS earlier advised the public to stop consuming and the trade to stop selling certain batches of prepackaged flour produced by an American manufacturer, General Mills Inc, which had been imported into Hong Kong as the products might be contaminated with E. coli. The CFS, through its routine Food Incident Surveillance System, noted a further announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration that the American manufacturer concerned is expanding its recall to include more batches of the affected product. The CFS immediately followed up and preliminary investigation found that the sole agent of the product concerned in Hong Kong, General Mills Hong Kong Limited, had imported a batch of the affected product."

     Product details are as follows:

Product name: Gold Medal Unbleached Flour
Net weight: Five pounds per pack
Use-by date: August 20, 2017
     The spokesman said that according to the information provided by the sole agent, the import quantity of the product concerned was 36 cartons (eight packs per carton), which had already been distributed to local vendors. The CFS is tracing the distribution of the affected product. The CFS has instructed the sole agent to stop selling the affected product and initiate a recall. Members of the public may call the company's hotline at 2629 7766 for enquiries during office hours about the recall.

     For the sake of prudence, the CFS has also contacted other major local importers and preliminary investigation showed that no other affected product had been found available for sale.

     People will contract E. coli causing gastro-intestinal disease through consumption of contaminated water or undercooked and contaminated foods. Intestinal bleeding and serious complications such as hemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) may also develop in some people. Moreover, due to poor personal hygiene, person-to-person transmission of this pathogen is possible through oral-faecal route. E. coli cannot survive under high temperature and can be killed by thorough cooking. People should refrain from consuming any raw dough or batter products.

     The spokesman urged consumers not to consume the affected product. The trade should also stop using or selling the product concerned immediately.

     The CFS will alert the trade, continue to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up action. Investigation is ongoing.
Ends/Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:46
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