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Import of contaminated raw beef from a Canadian food company suspended

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (October 5) announced that as the Canadian authority found some raw beef and beef products manufactured by XL Foods Inc there contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7, the CFS would suspend import of those products produced on and after August 24 by the manufacturer concerned with immediate effect as a precaution.

The CFS was notified by the Canadian authority that the manufacturer was recalling the affected raw beef and beef products, and part of the raw beef had been imported into Hong Kong. According to CFS’ initial investigations, a small portion of the products had been distributed to some local retailers.

"The CFS has alerted the trade and instructed the importer and distributors concerned to stop selling and start recalling the products of the affected batches," a CFS spokesman said.

Consumption of contaminated food (often raw meat or meat not thoroughly cooked and fresh agricultural produce) is the common mode of transmission for E. coli O157:H7. Pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, young children and the elderly are most at risk for developing serious complications like bloody diarrhoea.

The spokesman reminded the public not to consume hamburgers, minced beef, and other meat that are not thoroughly cooked to minimise the risk of infection by E. coli O157:H7. They should wash thoroughly and cook ground beef and hamburgers to a core temperature of 70 degrees Celsius or above for at least two minutes.

More information about how to prevent E.coli O157:H7 infection is available on CFS' website:
www.cfs.gov.hk/english/consumer_zone/foodsafety_bh_E_Coli.html.

"We will continue liaising with the Canadian authorities and closely monitor the situation. Relevant control measures will be reviewed when further information is obtained," the spokesman said.

Ends/Friday, October 5, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:56

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Last revision date:05-10-2012