Bottled preserved bean curd suspected to contain excessive Bacillus cereus

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 17) said that a notification was received from the Macau authorities concerned that a batch of bottled preserved bean curd manufactured on the Mainland and imported through Hong Kong was found to contain a pathogen, Bacillus cereus, at a level exceeding the safety standard of Macau and also not in compliance with Hong Kong's Microbiological Guidelines for Food. The CFS is following up on the incident, and urges the public not to consume the affected batch of the product and the trade to stop using or selling it.

     Details of the product are as follows:

Product name: Preserved Bean Curd (Red)
Brand: Dali
Place of origin: China
Packer: Zhejiang Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs I/E Co., Ltd.
Sole distributor in Hong Kong: Tak Fat Edible Salt & Provisions Limited
Best before date: November 23, 2018
Net weight: 500 grams per bottle

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "Upon receipt of a notification from the Food Safety Centre, Macau that the above-mentioned preserved bean curd imported from Hong Kong was detected with excessive Bacillus cereus (more than 100 000 of Bacillus cereus per gram of food) and according to Hong Kong's Microbiological Guidelines for Food, it is potentially injurious to health or unfit for human consumption if a gram of ready-to-eat food contains more than 100 000 of Bacillus cereus, the CFS immediately followed up. With the information provided by the Macau authorities, the CFS contacted the Hong Kong sole distributor, Tak Fat Edible Salt & Provisions Limited. By preliminary investigation and the information provided by the company, it was found that the company had imported 1488 cartons of the affected product, with some of which re-exported to Macau, some distributed in Hong Kong, and the remaining stock stored in their warehouse."

     The spokesman said that the CFS has requested the distributor to stop sale of the affected batch of the product and initiate a recall. The distributor has also voluntarily surrendered the remaining stock for CFS' disposal. Members of the public may call the distributor's hotline at 2462 4328 or 2462 4371 during office hours for enquiries about the recall. The CFS is also tracing the distribution of the product concerned, and will alert the trade to the incident and request them to stop using or selling the affected batch of the product.

     Bacillus cereus is commonly found in the environment. Unhygienic conditions in food processing and storage may give rise to its growth. Consuming food contaminated with excessive Bacillus cereus may cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhoea.

     "If consumers have bought and still possess the affected batch of the product, they should stop eating it. They should seek medical advice if they feel sick upon consumption," the spokesman added.

     The CFS will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action to safeguard food safety and public health. Investigation is ongoing.

Ends/Thursday, August 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:10