An investigation by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS), an agency under Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, has found that an importer had violated a ban order by bringing in some carrots from Chiba prefecture, Japan.
Acting on a complaint about possible rule violation, the CFC conducted a probe and found that an importer had contravened a ban imposed in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan.
According to the food safety agency, inspectors determined that 10 boxes of carrots originating in Chiba were imported to Hong Kong in January this year. Import documents did not mention the origin of the produce, the CFS said.
According to information provided by the importer, the majority of the carrots were “either rotten and disposed of or for personal consumption”, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
Only two boxes were sent to the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market for sale. One of them was sold while the remaining box was marked and sealed by the CFS.
Samples were taken for testing of radiation levels and the results were satisfactory, a CFS spokesman was quoted as saying.
Although the carrot samples from the same consignment passed the radiological testing, the CFS will, after seeking legal advice, consider launching prosecution against the importer and the retailer concerned, the report said.
In response to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident that took place on March 11, 2011, Hong Kong had banned the import of vegetables and fruits, milk, milk beverages and milk powder from the five most affected prefectures of Japan, namely Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma.
That order is still in force as of now.
The CFS said it will continue to follow up on the case and take appropriate action to prevent similar incidents from happening again. But it did not disclose the name of the importer who is said to have broken the ban order.
Wong Pik-wan, member of Legco’s Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene, criticized the government over the food safety lapse.
Accusing the administration of failing to do a good job with regard to safeguarding public health, Wong demanded that the names of the importer as well as the retailer be revealed so that citizens will know whether they had possibly consumed any of the banned carrots.
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