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CFS proactively follows up on substandard lard further discovered in Taiwan

A spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (October 8) that the CFS was very concerned about lard products, manufactured by mixing animal feed oil with edible lard for local sale, further seized by Taiwanese law enforcement authorities. A series of follow-up actions have been taken to prevent and stop the lard and relevant products involved from entering into the Hong Kong market.

The spokesman said, "The Centre contacted the Taiwanese authorities for further information upon noting the relevant media reports today regarding substandard lard (including but not limited to Wei Le Cooking Oil, Wei Le Refined Lard and Cheng I Refined Lard (transliteration)) produced by Cheng I Food Co., Ltd. The Centre has launched a full-scale investigation for the sake of prudence, including invoking the Food Safety Ordinance to require edible oil importers and distributors to submit information within the time limit set in order to find out if the affected oil products have been on sale in Hong Kong."

All relevant lard products found during the investigation will be immediately marked and sealed pending further investigation results and corresponding follow-up actions.

The spokesman said, "CFS will also alert the trade to the incident and appeal to them to stop using, processing and selling any cooking oil or products suspected to be involved in the incident. They should also initiate a recall of the affected products and contact the CFS immediately."

The CFS will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate actions including keeping close contact with the Taiwanese authorities and conducting checks at high-risk businesses like Taiwan food product outlets, bakery products and shops selling dim sum in various districts to ensure no affected products have been used or put on sale. Furthermore, in view of public concern over the safety of edible oil, CFS has enhanced surveillance of edible oil and relatively high-risk foods imported from other places (including Taiwan) for testing of contaminants to safeguard food safety and public health.

Depending on the investigation results, the CFS will conduct risk assessments and seek legal advice from the Department of Justice in considering invoking powers conferred on the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene by the Food Safety Ordinance to issue a Food Safety Order to further safeguard safety of edible oil in Hong Kong and reduce the possibility of causing hazards to public health.

The Centre will 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.

Ends/Wednesday, October 8, 2014

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Last revision date: 08-10-2014