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Import and sale of romaine lettuce produced in Salinas, California, US suspended
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (November 23) that the import into and sale in Hong Kong of romaine lettuce produced in Salinas, California, the United States (US), has been suspended with immediate effect, as the product might have been contaminated with Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7. The CFS urged the trade to stop using and selling the product concerned immediately should they possess it. 

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The Centre, through its Food Incident Surveillance System, noted a notice from the US Food and Drug Administration about the investigation of an outbreak of E. coli infections that was likely linked to the consumption of romaine lettuce produced in Salinas, California, which was suspected to be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. For the sake of prudence, the CFS has immediately suspended the import into and sale within Hong Kong of romaine lettuce produced in the area concerned."

     The spokesman said that CFS preliminary investigations found that a supplier, Wing Kee Produce Ltd, had sold a kind of prepackaged salad mix that contained the romaine lettuce concerned. The retailer concerned removed from shelves, stopped sale of the affected product and initiated a recall according to CFS' instructions. Enquiries about the recall can be made to the hotline at 2299 1133 during office hours.  

     Product details are as follows:

Product name: baby spring mix
Brand: organicgirl
Place of origin: Salinas, California, US
Net weight: 5 ounces /142 grams

     The spokesman urged consumers not to consume the abovementioned affected product if they have bought any. The trade should also stop using or selling the product concerned immediately if they possess it.  

     The spokesman said that the CFS would also enhance surveillance of romaine lettuce produced in the US at import and retail levels.

     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 may also develop in some people. Moreover, due to poor personal hygiene, person-to-person transmission of this pathogen is possible through the oral-faecal route. E. coli cannot survive under high temperature and can be killed by thorough cooking. 

     The CFS has informed the US authorities concerned of the import suspension and alerted the trade to the incident. The Centre will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action. Investigation is on-going. 
Ends/Saturday, November 23, 2019
Issued at HKT 22:57
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