Urine samples from certain pigs imported from the Mainland containing veterinary drug residues

Issue Date 6.8.2016
Source of Information

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD)

Food Product

Pork and pig offal

Product Name and Description

Forty pigs imported from two registered Mainland farms, slaughtered in Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse, and distributed to the local market in the morning of 5 August 2016 at 27 retail outlets (see List of the affected retailers provided by Ng Fung Hong).

Reason For Issuing Alert

The FEHD noted that urine samples of certain pigs imported from the Mainland were found to contain veterinary drug residues after preliminary testing, of which 40 pigs had been slaughtered in Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse and distributed to the local market.

Among a total of 319 pigs supplied from two Mainland farms, the preliminary test results of some of their urine samples were found to contain residues of beta-agonists (Clenbuterol/Salbutamol). The FEHD immediately followed up with Ng Fung Hong and according to its information, the 40 pigs have been distributed to 27 retail outlets.

Beta-agonists are synthetic substances which can increase muscle to fat ratio. They can also be used as a growth promoter to produce lean carcass, and therefore commonly referred to as "lean meat agents". Clenbuterol and Salbutamol, the two most common beta-agonists, are not allowed to be used in food animals in Hong Kong. People who have consumed meat (especially contaminated offal) containing excessive amount of beta-agonist residues may experience symptoms including rapid heart rates, dizziness, headaches, tremors and nervousness. The symptoms will appear from 10 minutes to three hours after consumption of the contaminated food and will disappear within 24 hours in general.

Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety

The FEHD has followed up with the operator of slaughterhouse, Ng Fung Hong, to trace the distribution of the affected pigs and has demanded the retail outlets concerned to stop selling the affected product.

The FEHD health inspectors have visited the retail outlets concerned to mark and seal the affected pigs.

According to the preliminary information, the two affected batches of pigs came from two registered Mainland farms. The FEHD has informed the relevant Mainland authorities for appropriate follow-up action.

The FEHD will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the case and review, including examining the entire testing and slaughtering procedures. The FEHD has also immediately strengthened its surveillance, including enhancing monitoring of food animals admitted to slaughterhouses and taking samples for testing.

If the final test results of the Government Laboratory confirmed that the affected pigs contain veterinary drug residues, all the affected pigs and meat which have been marked and sealed will be disposed of.

Advice to the Trade

Stop using or selling the affected products if having them in possession.

Advice to Consumers

Stop consuming the pork and pig offal bought from the affected retail outlets on 5 August 2016.

Seek medical advice if feeling sick after consumption.

Further Information

The CFS press release
List of the affected retailers provided by Ng Fung Hong

Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department