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FEHD embarks on recall of UK custard with local trade

  • 2001.09.04

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) last night (September 3) has worked with Oliver's for immediate recall of Ambrosia custard in Hong Kong.

The above is a result of learning that the manufacturer, Unilever Bestfoods in United Kingdom (UK) is recalling the product following the detection of growth of a bacterium Clostridium butyricum in the product. The consignment contains 500 gram packs and carries item code 2750 and lot number Q1. It has been distributed in UK and to the Republic of Ireland, Falkland Islands and Gibraltar besides some 180 packs to Hong Kong.

A spokesman for FEHD said: "Though Clostridium butyricum is usually considered a spoilage organism in food, it is an emerging foodborne pathogen and has been documented to cause botulism. Victims of botulism may suffer from abdominal pain, nausea, blurred or double vision and muscle weakness. In infants they may present with constipation, poor feeding, lethargy and generalized weakness. In severe cases, the disease can be fatal particularly in infants."

Last evening, upon notification by UK's food safety authority - Food Standards Agency, FEHD immediately tracked down the affected local importer - Oliver's, which has received the consignment between February and March 2001.

"The affected batch has already been sold out. Those on sale in Oliver's bear different identification numbers. Thus, the Department and Oliver's embark on immediate recall from consumers in order to safeguard public health. Consumers should stop using the product and contact Oliver's as soon as possible," the spokesman added.

"Meanwhile, another retail chain, City Super which has imported other batches of the same brand from UK has voluntarily withdrawn all stocks on grounds of maintaining consumer confidence and avoiding market confusion. We welcome the two chainstores for acting responsibly and co-operatively."

The public can call FEHD's special hotline at 2867 5438 for health advice. The hotline will operate from 8 am to 6 pm today (September 4) till Thursday (September 6). For product enquiries, the consumers can call the 24-hour hotlines of Oliver's at 2299 3828 or City Super at 2506 2888.

"FEHD will maintain dialogue with overseas food authorities and monitor the situation closely. Meanwhile, the public is advised that there is no cause for undue alarm," the spokesman emphasised.

Reprinted from HKSAR Government web page :