Saturday, 6 August 2016

Food Safety Fears... Again

A butcher selling pork in a wet market in Hong Kong
Yesterday Hong Kong's Food and Environment Hygiene Department found 319 pigs from the mainland with traces of Salbutamol and Clenbuterol -- drugs usually used to treat asthma, and artificially enhances animal growth and leaness.

However, the announcement was not made until 40 pigs had been sent to 27 retailers in the city, including two Wellcome stores and two Kai Bo Food Supermarkets.

There were a lot of questions why the authorities didn't stop the meat from being distributed, as they could not confirm if any more of the contaminated pork was on the market or if it had been consumed.

Pigs in Jiangxi province were found to be contaminated
Hui Wai-kin of the Pork Traders General Association of Hong Kong criticized the department for letting 40 of the tainted pigs to go through food production before safety results were known.

"Why would the pork be released to the market for sale before seeing the rest results on safety," he asked.

The spokesperson for the department could only say that 2,200kg of pork was confiscated from importers, and an additional 1,300kg turned in by wholesalers would be destroyed.

The contaminated pork came from Jiangxi province, which has now banned all livestock farms there from exporting pigs to Hong Kong. We get 20 per cent of our pork from Jiangxi, and from Guangdong and Henan provinces. One wonders if that pork is also safe to eat...

Pork is such a staple in Cantonese cuisine that it's hard for many families to go without it. They find it more flavourful than beef, and use it for everything from long-simmering soups to stir-fries, dumplings, roasted, and in bun fillings for dim sum.

Many vegetables sold in Hong Kong are from China
This is not the first time Hong Kong has had to deal with contaminated food from China. It again raises the issue of food security that the authorities don't seem to care about, as we also get 80 percent of our water from across the border too, and for very cheap, but is it safe?

Cheap is not a vote of confidence for Hong Kong people, some of whom have decided to reduce their meat intake, or only eat meat from overseas, go completely vegetarian or even vegan.

Surely the Hong Kong government is acutely aware of its residents' feelings towards food imports from China. Taking the necessary precautions to alert people about contaminated food should be its number one priority and stopping it from getting into the food distribution system.

A local doctor has warned that eating large amounts of tainted pork could result in heart failure for those with heart disease.

Do we want to know this after the contaminated pork entered our food distribution system? And if you eat pork almost daily, does this mean the toxins from the pork stay in our bodies for a long period of time? No one is telling the answer.

All the more reason to eat less meat, though vegetables from the mainland have been sprayed excessively with fertilizer and pesticides too... What can we eat?


  1. Surely those Mainland Chinese people contaminating food products and members of their family eat some of it too? Do they not care about their health and well-being?!

    1. Yeah... I don't get it either... I was going to mention that this demonstrates the Chinese government still hasn't educated its food producers on the dangers of using too much chemicals... or perhaps the authorities are too vested to care either!

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