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31 Dec 2012

Hong Kong, Alert on bottled fermented bean curd with suspected pathogen contamination (December 31 2012)

[Source: Centre for Food Safety, Hong Kong PRC SAR, full text: (LINK).]

Alert on bottled fermented bean curd with suspected pathogen contamination (with photo)

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (December 31) advised people not to consume a kind of bottled fermented bean curd cubes imported from China which might have been contaminated with Bacillus cereus, a pathogen. The trade should immediately stop selling or using the product.

"A sample of bottled fermented bean curd cubes was collected at a food distributor for testing under the regular Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that the sample contained Bacillus cereus at an excessive level of 130,000 per gram," a CFS spokesman said.

"According to the 'Microbiological Guidelines for Ready-to-eat Food', it is potentially hazardous to the health of consumers if 100,000 or more of Bacillus cereus per gram of food is detected," he added.

Product details of the unsatisfactory sample are as follows: Product name: Shui Kou Preserved Bean Curd (Chilli)(350 grams per bottle), Best before date: December 30, 2013 - Place of origin: Guangdong Province

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.

"The CFS visited the offices of the importer and the distributor concerned for investigation. The importer has no stock of the affected product in hand. According to the information provided by the distributor, the product concerned was only distributed to local food premises and was not for sale at retail outlets," the spokesman said.

"The distributor has immediately stopped the sale, initiated recall of the affected product and voluntarily surrendered all the remaining stocks for disposal", he said.

In addition, warning letters have been issued to the importer and the distributor concerned. The trade has also been alerted to stop selling or using the product. CFS staff have been conducting checks at the retail outlets and so far no affected food has been found available for sale.

"In case any consumers have bought the affected batch of this particular product, they should stop eating it. They are advised to seek medical advice if they feel sick after consuming the product concerned," the spokesman added.

He also reminded the public to purchase fermented bean curd from reliable retail outlets, and to check the expiry dates of the fermented bean curd as well as consume the product within the recommended period.

"The CFS has informed the Mainland authorities of the incident for follow-up actions. We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate actions whenever necessary," the spokesman said.

Ends/Monday, December 31, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:43