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Bottled organic black soybean milk with suspected pathogen contamination

  • 2014.07.09
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (July 9) noted that a kind of locally produced bottled organic black soybean milk might have been contaminated with Bacillus cereus, a pathogen. Members of the public should stop consuming the affected batch of the product.

Product details of the organic black soybean milk are as follows:

Product name: Organic Black Soybean Milk (by Hung Fook Tong)
Package: 350 millilitres per bottle
Best before date: July 5, 2014
Place of origin: Hong Kong

"During follow-up investigation on a case of removal from shelves of some food products by a local food chain, the CFS collected samples of the food products at the retail level for testing. Test results showed that a sample of bottled organic black soybean milk contained Bacillus cereus at an excessive level of 540,000 per gramme," a CFS spokesman said.

"According to the 'Microbiological Guidelines for Ready-to-eat Food', it is potentially hazardous to the health of consumers if 100,000 or more of Bacillus cereus per gramme of food is detected," he added.

Bacillus cereus is commonly found in the environment. Improper conditions in food processing and/or storage may give rise to its growth as well as production of toxins. Consuming food contaminated with excessive Bacillus cereus may cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhoea.

"Although the product has expired, the CFS, for the sake of prudence, urges consumers who have bought the affected batch of the product to stop drinking it. They should seek medical advice if they feel sick after consuming the concerned product," the spokesman added.

"CFS staff have inspected the processing plant and retail outlets of the manufacturer. The manufacturer indicated that the affected batch of the product had been out of stock. CFS staff have also inspected other retail outlets and have not found any product of the affected batch available for sale so far," the spokesman said.

"Furthermore, the CFS has issued a warning to the manufacturer concerned and will consider taking out prosecution action based on the test result. The CFS will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate actions whenever necessary," the spokesman said.