Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man is apologizing over tainted pork that passed government inspections and ended up in meat markets.
Ko blamed “problems” in the government’s control mechanism for the incident, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
More than 40 hogs tainted with a banned substance were approved for slaughter before inspectors found they should have been destroyed.
The animals were imported from southeast China’s Jiangxi province, Ko said.
He said the government has suspended all imports of live hogs from the province and is considering compensation to the affected retailers.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said urine samples from a batch of imported hogs contained the banned chemical salbutamol.
The substance, a cure for asthma in humans, is used to grow pigs more quickly and fatten lean meat.
Ko said the government immediately contacted Ng Fung Hong Ltd., the main supplier, but the meat had already been distributed to different markets.
On Sunday, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department destroyed 3.5 tons of pork and offal.
Meanwhile, authorities published a list of 27 affected pork retailers, including three in the Sheung Wan wet market.
A meat vendor, surnamed Lai, said he had not bought hogs from Ng Fung Hong for two years but officials still destroyed more than one ton of his meat worth about HK$30,000.
Lai is demanding an apology and compensation from the government. He said he has lost orders from five hotels.
Hui Wai-kin, president of the Pork Traders General Association of Hong Kong Ltd., criticized the government for going after innocent pork retailers.
He said it should take responsibility for what happened.
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]