Tissue samples from local pigs detected with veterinary drug residues exceeding the legal limit

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (October 16) announced that two pig kidney samples from local pigs were detected with veterinary drug residues exceeding the legal limit.  The CFS is following up on the case. 

These two pig kidney samples came from one local pig farm. The test results showed that they contained enrofloxacin at levels of 400 μg per kg and 430 μg per kg respectively. Enrofloxacin is a veterinary drug, which can be appropriately used at farms generally as a treatment for sick pigs.  Yet under the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Chemical Residues) Regulation (Cap. 139N), enrofloxacin is one of the restricted chemicals used in food animals. The level of enrofloxacin in pig kidney cannot exceed 300 μg per kg. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $100,000 upon conviction.  

Although the two samples were detected with veterinary drug residue levels at 1.3 times and 1.4 times of the legal maximum residue limit (300 μg per kg) respectively, risk assessment revealed that adverse health effects will not be caused under normal consumption based on the levels of enrofloxacin detected in the samples. CFS conducts routine surveillance on food animals entering the slaughterhouses in Hong Kong for veterinary drug residues.  Up to September this year, about 24,000 samples were tested, and two of these samples were detected with values exceeding the legal limits.  

The Government will enhance inspection at the related farm, collect samples from the pigs, and continue to follow up on the case at the farm. The investigation is ongoing.