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Food Safety Focus (159th Issue, October 2019) – Food Incident Highlight

Chloramphenicol Found in Aquatic Food

Recently, the media reported detection of chloramphenicol in frozen fish and crab samples purchased from local wet markets. Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic and can be used to treat bacterial infections. Nevertheless, it has potential toxicity to bone marrow in human.

According to the Harmful Substances in Food Regulations (Cap 132AF), all food sold in Hong Kong for human consumption is not allowed to contain chloramphenicol. The Food Surveillance programme of the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) includes testing of chloramphenicol. In the past 12 months, the CFS has collected 483 aquatic food samples for testing of chloramphenicol, among which three were tested positive. Follow up action was taken.

The public should purchase aquatic food from licensed food premises. The trade is advised to source aquatic food from reliable suppliers. Chloramphenicol should not be used in animal and aquatic farms.