CFS follows up on Dutch eggs found with pesticide fipronil

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 4) said that the CFS collected two samples of eggs imported from the Netherlands from local outlets for testing and the test results showed that both samples contained fipronil at levels exceeding the local legal limit. The CFS is following up and urges the public not to consume the affected batch of the product. The trade should also stop using or selling the affected batch of the product immediately.

A spokesman for the CFS said, "Upon learning of a notice issued by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority that certain eggs produced in the country were detected as containing a pesticide, fipronil, at levels which might cause adverse health effects and consumption of the affected eggs was not advised, the CFS has been closely following up on the incident and monitoring its latest developments. It has also contacted major local importers and conducted inspections at major retail outlets. According to information and egg codes of the eggs concerned published by the Dutch authorities, investigation by the CFS showed that the affected batches of the product not fit for consumption as advised by the Dutch authorities have not been imported into Hong Kong. For the sake of prudence, the Centre collected two samples of Dutch eggs of a different batch (product name: Cheer Fresh Dutch Brown Eggs; code: 2-NL 4378101; best-before date: November 6, 2017) at the retail level for testing. The test results showed that the two samples contained fipronil at levels of 0.064 parts per million (ppm) and 0.055 ppm respectively, exceeding the maximum residue limit of 0.02 ppm as stipulated in local legislation," the spokesman said.

The CFS has informed the vendors concerned of the irregularities and requested the trade to stop sale and remove from shelves the above-mentioned batch of the product immediately. The Centre has also instructed the importer, Dah Chong Hong Limited, to initiate a recall. Members of the public can call its hotline at 2768 3232 during office hours for enquiries about the recall.

Furthermore, the CFS has taken a precautionary measure with effect from today that all poultry eggs imported from the Netherlands will be held for testing and will only be released to the market for sale upon satisfactory test results.

Any person who imports, manufactures or sells any food not in compliance with the requirements of the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap 132CM) concerning pesticide residues commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for six months upon conviction.

The spokesman said, "Based on the levels of pesticide residue detected in the samples, adverse health effects will not be caused under usual consumption. However, for the sake of prudence, members of the public who have bought the affected batch of the product should stop consuming it. The trade should also stop using or selling the affected batch of the product immediately should they possess it."

The CFS will maintain close liaison with the Dutch authorities concerned and the trade, and will take appropriate follow-up action with regard to the latest developments of the incident.

In the first five months of this year, Hong Kong imported about 927 000 poultry eggs from the Netherlands, less than 0.1 per cent of the total number of poultry eggs imported to Hong Kong. Under its routine Food Surveillance Programme, the CFS has collected food samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for chemical and microbiological testing to ensure that food meets legal requirements and is fit for human consumption. From 2014 to 2016, the Centre has collected a total of over 1 100 poultry egg samples for chemical (including fipronil) testing. All samples passed the tests.

Ends/Friday, August 4, 2017