The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) announced Thursday that a sample of shrimp sashimi taken at a Thai restaurant was found to be contaminated with a pathogen, Salmonella. The CFS has ordered the restaurant concerned to stop selling the affected product, and to review and improve the food production process.

Sushi public domain image/Luke via wikimedia commons
Sushi public domain image/Luke via wikimedia commons

A CFS spokesman said, “The CFS took a sample of the shrimp sashimi from a licensed general restaurant in Kowloon City for testing through its regular Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that Salmonella was found to be present in 25 grams of the sample, contravening the ‘Microbiological Guidelines for Food’ which state that Salmonella should not be detected in 25 grams of food.”

Salmonella infection may cause fever and gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. The effects on infants, young children, the elderly and patients with a weak immune system could be more severe and sometimes may even lead to death.

The CFS has not received any reports of persons feeling unwell after consumption of shrimp sashimi at the premises concerned in the past three months.

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The spokesman said, “The CFS has informed the restaurant operator of the testing result and will undertake prosecution action. The restaurant concerned, upon the CFS’ advice, has suspended sale of the affected product. Thorough cleaning and disinfection will be carried out. The operator will also review and improve the food production process.

“The FEHD will continue to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up action, including stepping up the inspection frequency of the restaurant concerned. To ensure food safety and safeguard public health, a follow-up sample will be taken for testing once the restaurant resumes supply of shrimp sashimi.”