The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (January 25) that the import into and sale within Hong Kong of raw oysters produced by Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd of Scotland has been prohibited with immediate effect. The trade should also stop using or selling the product concerned immediately should they still possess it.
A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS was notified by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health of a number of food poisoning cases which involved consumption of raw oysters at a restaurant in Causeway Bay. The CFS conducted investigations at the restaurant concerned which claimed that it had sold raw oysters produced in Scotland supplied by a local supplier. Follow-up investigations found that the restaurant and the supplier concerned did not have any remaining stock of the affected raw oysters. According to the information provided by the supplier concerned, the affected raw oysters came from Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd of Scotland. For the sake of prudence, the CFS has immediately banned the import into and sale within Hong Kong of all raw oysters produced by the company."
The CFS is tracing the distribution of the affected product. The trade should also stop using or selling the product in question.
The spokesman pointed out that as oysters feed by filtering a large volume of seawater, pathogens (such as norovirus), chemical contaminants or natural toxins can accumulate in them if they are grown in or harvested from contaminated water. Regardless of the season or the region in which the oysters are harvested, consuming oysters, particularly raw or partially cooked ones, carries an inherent food safety risk. Susceptible groups, such as pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems or liver diseases, should avoid eating raw oysters.
The CFS has informed the Scottish authorities of the import ban and will also notify the local trade. It will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action to safeguard food safety and public health. Investigation is ongoing.
Ends/Wednesday, January 25, 2017