Import and sale of raw oysters produced by Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd or harvested in Dungarvan Bay (harvest location code: WD-DB-DN) in Ireland prohibited immediately

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (January 13) that the import into and sale within Hong Kong of all raw oysters produced by Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd in Ireland or those harvested in Dungarvan Bay (harvest location code: WD-DB-DN) in the country, have 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 received a notification from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the European Commission that raw oysters harvested in the above-mentioned area and produced by the producer concerned were found to be contaminated with norovirus, and the producer is recalling the affected product. 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 producer or harvested in the area concerned."

The spokesman said that based on the information provided by the RASFF, some of the affected raw oysters had been imported into Hong Kong by four local importers, namely, Athena APAC Limited, Supreme Fine Food Limited, Caves Asia Company Limited and Global Union Food Limited. The CFS immediately contacted the four importers concerned for follow-up. According to the information provided by them, 300 kilograms (kg), 792.8kg, 334kg and 766kg of the affected raw oysters have been imported by them respectively. Some of the product has been sold or disposed of. The importers concerned have ceased sale of the affected product and initiated a recall according to the CFS instructions. Members of the public may call Athena APAC Limited (2110 9148), Supreme Fine Food Limited (2811 8268), Caves Asia Company Limited (2423 5138), and Global Union Food Limited (3101 9621) during office hours for enquiries. The CFS is also tracing the distribution of the product concerned.

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 Irish 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.

Ends/Friday, January 13, 2017