Food safety authority of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) decided on Monday to further enhance checks on eggs at import level and expand the measure to poultry eggs from all countries of the European Union (EU).
Since two egg samples imported from the Netherlands were found to contain excessive fipronil, a pesticide, earlier this month, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) of the HKSAR's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has stepped up holding poultry eggs from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France for testing at import level.
"For the sake of prudence, the arrangement has been extended to cover other EU countries," a spokesman for the CFS said Monday. "The CFS will also hold poultry eggs from EU countries for testing at import level and they will only be released to the market for sale upon satisfactory test results."
The spokesman added that the CFS has also enhanced surveillance in the local market on eggs from EU countries.
Other than the unsatisfactory Dutch egg samples announced earlier this month, the CFS has not found any other unsatisfactory samples, it said, adding that based on the levels of the pesticide detected in the egg samples, adverse health effects will not be caused under usual consumption.
As for the affected batch of the Dutch eggs, the importer has recalled the eggs in accordance with the instructions of the CFS.
The CFS "has maintained liaison with the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the European Commission, the Dutch and Belgian authorities over the incident, and will continue to take appropriate follow-up action with regard to the information provided by the authorities concerned and latest developments of the incident," the spokesman said.
In the first six months of this year, poultry eggs imported from the EU countries were less than 2 percent of the total volume of poultry eggs imported to Hong Kong, according to the CFS.