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HK to prohibit import of a Mainland tea drink and stop sale of five kinds of food and syrup (with photo)

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (June 21) that it would prohibit from noon tomorrow (June 22) the import and supply of the following drink:

Brand Name and Food Name: ITAMACHI KING OOLONG Tea Drink
Manufacturer: Fuzhou Jinhe Ecollcil Science and Technology Co, Ltd
Place of Origin: China
Count/Weight/Volume: All count/weight/volume
Batch No.: All batches

The CFS also ordered the trade (importer/distributor/retailer) to complete recall of the above product available in the market according to the specified manner within 30 days from noon tomorrow.

The aforesaid drink, if accompanied by a certificate issued by the relevant Mainland authority stating that the levels of plasticiser di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) do not exceed 1.5 parts per million (ppm), will be exempted.

A CFS spokesman said the tea drink sample was collected for testing during CFS' surveillance checks on the five categories of food products (i.e. sports drinks; fruit juice; tea drink; fruit jam/fruit nectar or jelly; and food in tablet, capsule or powder form) produced in Taiwan that were possibly contaminated with plasticisers and on other popular food products similar in nature at local retail outlets.

The test result indicated that the sample contained DEHP at a level of 2.9 ppm, exceeding the action level of 1.5 ppm adopted by the CFS, he said.

"Dietary exposure estimation on the above tea drink sample showed that the exposure to DEHP by average consumers (daily consumption of about 530 ml of the drink, roughly a bottle of the tea drink sample shown in the attached photo) and high consumers (daily consumption of about 1 400 ml of the drink, nearly three bottles of the tea drink sample shown in the attached photo) from consuming the concerned drink would exceed the Tolerable Daily Intake of 0.025mg/kg of body weight under the World Health Organization Guidelines, which may pose a risk to human health upon long-term consumption," the spokesman said.

He noted that the acute oral toxicity of DEHP is low. As for chronic toxicity, DEHP was found to affect the liver and kidney as well as the reproduction and development of experimental animals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that DEHP is possibly carcinogenic to humans.

The Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene is empowered to make an order to prohibit the import and supply of any food under Section 78B of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132), and to direct that any food supplied be recalled.

The spokesman said, "The CFS has notified the trade of this new arrangement and urged them to take the initiative to stop the sale of any food or drink that might be affected. The Mainland authority has also been informed of the test result for appropriate follow-up actions."

Meanwhile, the Centre received the latest notification from the Taiwanese authority that consignments of six kinds of food products (at Annex) which were suspected to be contaminated with plasticisers had been distributed to Hong Kong. The CFS has at once contacted the concerned importers.

The spokesman said, "The CFS noted that items (1) to (4) at Annex, namely honey peach pieces with neat, star fruit syrup, lychee syrup and grape coconut jelly, are food ingredients which are solely for supply to the catering industry. Among the three importers, Gold Charming Int'l Ltd, which has not sold any of the affected products, has sealed all the products concerned for disposal.

"No remaining stocks of the affected products were left for the other two importers, Star Plus International Co and First Label Limited. The CFS instructed them to initiate recall of the concerned products. The trade was also advised to stop using the affected food ingredients.

"The importer O' Farm Limited of item (5) at Annex -- the 'vegetables fruit oat eat' -- indicated to the CFS that it had initiated product recall since late last month. For enquiries about its recall, members of the public may call the company (tel: 8111 1575) during office hours."

As to the DrinkaZine Energy Watt in item (6), the CFS made an order to prohibit the import and supply of this drink from noon of June 14 upon the detection in a sample of this sports drink, collected during CFS' surveillance checks, of a plasticiser di-butyl phthalate (DBP) at a level that may pose a risk to human health. Recall of the product is still underway.

The spokesman said, "The CFS will continue its investigations and follow-up work, closely monitor the recall arrangements and collect samples of related products for testing. It will also conduct checks at retail outlets to see if those products are available for sale."

He added, "If any food product is found to be tainted with plasticisers, the CFS will make an order as soon as possible to prohibit the import and supply of the product concerned under existing legislation, and to direct that any affected food product be recalled and disposed of."

Ends/Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:25

Annex

The Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (June 21) that it would prohibit from noon tomorrow (June 22) the import and supply of the tea drink as shown in the photo, ITAMACHI KING OOLONG Tea Drink.

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Last revision date:21-06-2011