The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (October 31) that it is actively following up on a food poisoning outbreak involving tuna fillet, including investigating the restaurant and the importer concerned, and conducting source tracing. A sample of tuna fillet collected from the importer was found to contain a toxic metabolite, histamine. The CFS urged the public not to consume the product. The trade should stop using or selling the affected product immediately if they possess it.
Details of the product are as follows:
Product name: Frozen tuna fillet
Place of origin: Vietnam
Lot No.: VN 166 VI 157
Production date: July 5, 2022
Expiry date: July 5, 2024
Importer: Ichiban Pacific (H.K.) Ltd
A spokesman for the CFS said, “Upon notification by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health of food poisoning cases involving tuna fillet, the CFS immediately sent staff to the restaurant concerned in Tsim Sha Tsui and the importer to conduct an investigation and source tracing, and took samples for testing. The test results showed that a frozen tuna fillet sample from the importer contained histamine at a level of 2800 milligrams per kilogram, which can cause food-borne intoxication.”
The spokesman added, “The importer, suppliers and restaurant concerned are following the CFS’s advice to stop sale and discard the affected product. The importer has also initiated a recall. Members of the public may call its hotline at 2512 2900 during office hours for enquiries about the recall. The CFS has also provided health education on food safety and hygiene to the person-in-charge and staff concerned, and instructed them to carry out thorough cleaning and disinfection, as well as to implement improvement measures to ensure food safety. Should there be sufficient evidence, prosecution will be instituted.”
According to section 54 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132), all food for sale in Hong Kong, whether locally produced or imported, should be fit for human consumption. An offender is subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction.
“Histamine is a toxic metabolite commonly found in certain kinds of fish such as tuna, sardine, mackerel and anchovy, as a result of bacterial spoilage. Consumption of fish containing high levels of histamine can cause food-borne intoxication. Symptoms of histamine poisoning include a tingling and burning sensation around the mouth, facial flushing and sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, palpitations, dizziness and rash. The onset of intoxication symptoms is within a few hours after consumption and these symptoms will normally disappear in 12 hours without long-term effects,” the spokesman said.
The CFS will alert the trade to the incident, continue to follow up and take appropriate action. An investigation is ongoing.