Hong Kong authorities have banned the import and sale of all sandwiches made by the Horng Ryen Jen Cake and Biscuits Store in Taiwan.
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department imposed the ban Monday on the sandwiches, which are suspected to have been related to dozens of recent cases of food poisoning.
The CFS said it suspected, from an epidemiological perspective based on the latest information, that the multiple outbreaks of food poisoning arose from improper food handling early in the supply chain.
It urged Hongkongers not to bring the sandwiches with them when returning from travel overseas and not to buy them online, even though doing so is not prohibited.
The Centre for Health Protection announced Monday night that 13 more people had developed symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting after consuming the sandwiches, bringing the total to 46 since the outbreak was first reported on July 31, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.
Stool specimens of six of the affected people tested positive for Group D salmonella.
All are in stable condition.
Macau’s Food Safety Center also warned the city’s residents to stop eating and selling sandwiches made by Horng Ryen Jen.
Two Macau residents came down with suspected food poisoning on July 28 and 29 after eating sandwiches bought in Taiwan and given to them by friends in Hong Kong.
The Public Health Bureau of Changhua county in Taiwan has collected samples from the 15 local shops of the bakery chain for testing to ascertain the cause of the recent spate of food poisoning.
Lin Yu-fen, chief of the bureau’s food section, said no case of food poisoning has been found yet in Taiwan.
The bureau is waiting for its Hong Kong counterpart’s investigation of suppliers and importers to confirm whether the sandwiches were contaminated during manufacturing, transportation or conservation.
Meanwhile, some legislators in Hong Kong have urged the government to enhance monitoring of online shopping channels, as some of the sandwiches suspected to have caused food poisoning had been bought online.
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