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CFS follows up on imported frozen pangasius fillet sample tested positive for COVID-19 virus in Macao
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (June 1) that the CFS is proactively following up on an imported frozen pangasius fillet sample from Vietnam that tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in Macao. The CFS's initial investigations showed that the affected batch of the product had been imported to Hong Kong. For prudence's sake, the spokesman urged the public not to consume the affected batch of the product concerned and to observe personal, food and environmental hygiene. The trade should also stop using or selling the affected batch of the product immediately if they possess it.

     Product details are as follows:

Product name: Vietnam Pangasius Fillet
Brand: Meadows Essentials
Place of origin: Vietnam
Importer: Leader Marine Products Trading Limited
Net weight: 200 grams
Best-before date: March 2, 2024

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS noted an announcement from the Department of Food Safety of Macao yesterday that an imported frozen pangasius fillet sample from Vietnam tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The CFS immediately contacted the Macao authority and local importers for follow-up. Initial investigations found that the above-mentioned importer had imported the affected batch of the product and sold it to a supermarket chain."

     For the sake of prudence, the importer and the supermarket concerned have stopped sale of the affected batch of the product, and initiated a recall upon the CFS's instruction. Members of the public may call the importer's hotline at 3656 1388 during office hours for enquiries about the recall.

     The CFS will mark and seal the affected batch of frozen pangasius fillet and arrange its disposal. The CFS will continue to follow up on the incident and step up sampling of similar products for testing.

     To prevent the import of the COVID-19 virus through imported frozen foods, the CFS has stepped up precautionary testing measures since mid-2020, including enhanced testing of various types of frozen foods and their packaging imported from different countries/regions, which involves taking samples at the Airport Food Inspection Offices and cold stores of importers. Up to now, over 33 000 samples of foods and their packaging have been collected for testing for the virus, and only the pomfret fish and packaging samples announced last August, the cuttlefish slice and packaging samples announced last November, the packaging samples of beef and pork skin announced this February and the packaging samples of ox offal and chicken leg announced this April were found to be positive. The CFS will continue the sampling of imported frozen foods and their packaging for testing. 

     The COVID-19 virus is predominantly transmitted through droplets and cannot multiply in food or food packaging. According to current scientific knowledge, the World Health Organization and food safety assessment authorities in overseas countries consider that it is unlikely that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted to humans via food consumption. Nevertheless, members of the public should always observe personal, food and environmental hygiene. The CFS reminds the public to pay attention to the following:

* Always keep hands clean, particularly before touching the mouth, nose or eyes;
* Rub hands with liquid soap for at least 20 seconds when washing before and after handling chilled and frozen food and its packaging, if any; after going to the toilet; and before eating;
* Handle raw and cooked food separately, and pay special attention when handling raw meat and offal, to avoid cross-contamination of food; and
* Cook food thoroughly and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products. 
Ends/Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:45
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