The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) destroyed up to 3,500 kilogrammes of pork and pig offal on Sunday, after discovering traces of veterinary drugs in pigs imported from the mainland last week.

After discovering drug residue in up to 319 pigs imported from two mainland farms last Friday, the FEHD was informed that 40 of these pigs had been slaughtered in the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse and distributed to the local market. According to the operator of the slaughterhouse, Ng Fung Hong, the meat from the 40 pigs was distributed to 27 local retail outlets.

fehd pork health hygiene
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in action

A retail outlet in Sheung Wan, Wing Seng Hou, lost over HK$30,000 worth of pork to the FEHD after being named by the slaughterhouse, a manager surnamed Lai told Apple Daily.

Lai said that he always imports pork from Quảng Nam province in Vietnam, while the troubled pigs from Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse were from the mainland, but the FEHD ignored him when he showed them the receipt. Lai criticised the department for naming retail outlets without checking the source of their meat, and demanded an apology as well as financial compensation.

Another retail outlet manager surnamed Tsang said that his shop’s reputation was affected after being named on the list published by the FEHD. Tsang also imports meat from Quảng Nam province in Vietnam.

Ko Wing-man.
Ko Wing-man.

Ko Wing-man, secretary for food and health, said that he was “very sorry” for not preventing the pigs from entering the local market, and that there had been a mistake in the checking procedure. The procedure has been strengthened, said Ko.

Ko said the FEHD decided to publish the list of retail outlets in a timely manner to prevent citizens who had bought the contaminated meat from eating it. He added that the list can be updated if necessary.

The secretary also said that the affected retail outlets had no responsibility in this incident and that he would consider providing compensation if needed. The troubled pigs came from Jiangxi province in China and the FEHD has stopped the importation of pigs from the area, said Ko.

Gene Lin is a Journalism and Computer Science student at The University of Hong Kong. He worked as a reporter for the 'LIVE: Verified Updates' during the Occupy Central protests. He is also an editor at HKU's first English-language student paper, The Lion Post.