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Food Safety Focus (19th Issue, February 2008) – Food Incident Highlight

Methamidophos and Dumplings

In late January 2008, local media reported on a food incident concerning frozen dumplings that were suspected to be contaminated with the pesticide methamidophos in Japan. As products from the same source were available locally, they were voluntarily removed from sale.

Methamidophos is an organophosphorus pesticide that had caused a large number of food poisoning cases in Hong Kong when it was abused in vegetables in the later part of the last century. Symptoms of methamidophos poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness and numbness. In severe cases, people may have breathing difficulties, blurred vision and convulsion.

When sourcing vegetables on the Mainland for export to Hong Kong, vegetable importers should acquire vegetables from registered farms and collecting / processing establishments. Vegetables should be washed and prepared properly before consumption in order to minimise the chance of pesticide food poisoning.

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