China Bans Import and Sale of Raw Oysters from South Africa

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The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of China’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of China has suspended the import into and sale within Hong Kong of raw oysters from Zwembesi Farms in South Africa.

This follows four cases of food poisoning by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health which involved consumption of raw oysters at three restaurants supplied by the same local supplier

“In its follow-up investigations, the CFS noted from the information provided by the supplier that the affected raw oysters were harvested in Zwembesi Farms of South Africa,” the Department said in a statement.

While it traces the distribution of the affected product, the CFS has instructed the concerned supplier to stop supplying and selling the affected raw oysters.

Oysters feed by filtering a large volume of seawater and pathogens such as norovirus, chemical contaminants or natural toxins can accumulate in them if they are grown in or harvested from contaminated water. Raw or partially cooked ones, in particular, carry an inherent food safety risk.

The CFS says it will inform the South African authorities about the incident as well as notify the local trade as investigations continue to take appropriate action to safeguard food safety and public health.

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