The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) continued to proactively investigate the incident of "substandard lard" from Taiwan. A spokesman for the CFS today (September 11) said that the CFS will expand the scope of the criminal investigation on the suspected case of exporting contaminated lard by Globalway Corporation Limited (Globalway) to Taiwan. Besides, the CFS will step up surveillance on edible oil sold locally, to ensure safety of edible oil.
The spokesman said, "The CFS has all along been monitoring the quality of local edible oil to ensure that the oil meets legal requirements and is fit for consumption. In 2013, the CFS has taken, under the regular Food Surveillance Programme, some 450 edible oil samples for testing of chemicals including Benzo[a]pyrene, aflatoxins, peroxide value and metal contaminants. All samples were found to be satisfactory and met legal requirements. With regard to public concern over the safety of edible oil, the CFS will step up the inspection of edible oil in the coming year. It is expected that the number of samples will increase by at least 20 per cent over last year's."
Furthermore, according to the Food Business Regulations, any food businesses involving preparing and/or manufacturing food for sale for human consumption off the premises must obtain a food factory licence from the FEHD. The department conducts regular checks on the premises to ensure that the licensing conditions are observed and hygienic standards stipulated in the law are met. According to the records of the department, there are nine local premises which have obtained food factory licences from the FEHD to handle or manufacture edible oil. Nevertheless, none is involved in the business of manufacturing edible lard for human consumption.
The FEHD has all along been taking strict enforcement action in combatting unlicensed food business. Illegal production of edible oil would be banned should any be found.
Regarding the announcement made by the Taiwanese authorities today that official health certification documents are required for importation of edible oil products other than lard, the spokesman said should applications from local exporters be received, the Centre would contact the Taiwanese authorities to find out the requirements of health certification documents to provide relevant services.
The spokesman stressed that, according to the information provided by the Taiwanese authorities, no substandard lard has been detected to have entered the Hong Kong market so far. Members of the public who would like to secure a copy of the list of affected products can pay attention to the relevant information issued by the Hong Kong and Taiwanese authorities.
The CFS will continue to liaise with Taiwanese authorities closely, and to announce the latest developments in a timely manner through press releases and by uploading the information onto its website to facilitate the public in keeping track of the development of the incident. The overall investigation conducted by the CFS is still ongoing.
Ends/Thursday, September 11, 2014