FEHD continues to follow up on Taiwan "substandard lard" incident proactively

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) continued to proactively investigate the Taiwan "substandard lard" incident. A spokesman for the CFS today (September 15) said since a list of traders who might have distributed or used lard/lard products manufactured by Chang Guann Co., Ltd in Taiwan on or after March 1, 2014, was announced yesterday, there were claims made by individual traders that they had not used the affected lard/lard products. Those traders concerned could submit proofs under an established mechanism to facilitate clarification and timely amendment of the list by the CFS to stop the supply of the affected products in the market.

A CFS spokesman said, "The aim of publishing the list of traders (the list) is to ensure recall of specified products in a timely and systematic manner under the Food Safety Order. Before the list was issued, the CFS had made it clear that the information was provided by importers and major distributors. At present, companies on the list may have no stock of the relevant products, returned them to their suppliers, removed them from the shelves, or stopped using such products over a period of time."

He added, "Traders who think that there is any inaccuracy in the list should approach their respective importer or distributor to clarify. Requests for amendment, together with relevant transaction records (such as invoices), should be made by the importer or distributor concerned. Upon receipt of such requests, the CFS may contact the traders for verification. After thorough consideration and convinced that there is sufficient grounds, the CFS will amend the list as soon as possible."

For any enquiries concerning the above arrangement, retailers, distributors and importers may approach the CFS via email of by fax. The email account and fax number for importers are dmylam@fehd.gov.hk and 2776 5226 respectively. As for distributors and retailers, they can write to Food_Recall_Notification@fehd.gov.hk or fax to 2521 4784.

According to the Food Safety Ordinance, any person who, in the course of business, imports, acquires or supplies by wholesale food in Hong Kong shall keep transaction records of the business to which it has supplied the food and the business from which it has acquired the food. It is an offence to recklessly includes in a record information that is false. Offenders are subject to the maximum penalty of a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for three months upon conviction.

The spokesman added that the trade should keep relevant transaction records and present them within a specified time for inspection by the Director the Food and Environmental Hygiene as and when necessary, for instance, in case of major food incident. The trade is reminded to keep records of their trade transactions systematically. The CFS would exchange views with the trade on ways to enhance communication and advise them to set up an emergency hotline to enable the establishment of immediate contact so that CFS could obtain information required to better safeguard food safety.

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.

Ends/Monday, September 15, 2014