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Horsemeat scandal reaches Hong Kong as European lasagna recalled

(Global Times)

09:46, February 17, 2013

The government in Hong Kong urged the public not to eat a brand of readymade beef lasagna imported from Europe on Friday, after horse DNA was detected in the product, which might also contain veterinary drugs that are unsafe for human consumption.

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of Hong Kong said on its website it had ordered a halt to the sale of imported Findus Beef Lasagna.

A spokesman of the CFS advised consumers who have purchased the product, regardless of the batch, not to consume it and anyone feeling unwell after having eaten the product should report it to the center. No reports or complaints have been received.

The centre said the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the European Commission detected horse DNA in the beef lasagna, which is produced by a British company and packaged by the French food-processing company Comigel in Luxembourg.

The centre also said it is awaiting test results for the equine painkiller phenylbutazone, also known as "bute." The British company is voluntarily recalling the affected product, which were imported to Hong Kong.

The importer ParknShop, a Hong Kong-based supermarket chain, has over 260 stores in Hong Kong, Macao and the Chinese mainland. ParknShop and its subsidiary outlets, Great and Taste, sold the 360 gram packs of Findus Beef Lasagna at its stores throughout Hong Kong

The center said the retailer had stopped selling the affected product and initiated a recall.

A spokeswoman for the chain declined to say how many boxes it had imported, sold or recalled, reported the Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post on Saturday.

CFS staff have conducted checks at other retail outlets in Hong Kong and, so far, found no affected product available for sale.

The centre said it will continue to monitor the situation and order appropriate follow-up action.

The horsemeat scandal has spread throughout Europe over the past month. Member states of the European Union reached an agreement on a plan to control fraudulently labeled meats in the food market, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

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