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Hong Kong steps up Brazil checks following falsified meat certificates

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Following complaints, a Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) investigation into products such as chicken feet and livestock offal products from Brazil which are for pet consumption only, were not marked as such.

A spokesman for the CFS said: “The CFS received a complaint lodged by a food importer about a suspicious health certificate accompanying a consignment of frozen chicken feet from Brazil which was imported earlier this year. The importer therefore informed the Consulate General of Brazil in Hong Kong and the CFS for a follow-up. The CFS then liaised with the Brazilian authorities for investigation. The Brazilian authorities have recently confirmed that the health certificate concerned was falsified and the related consignment of frozen chicken feet was pet food. The CFS has reported the case to the Hong Kong Police.”

The investigation uncovered further consignments involved.

“In its follow-up investigation, the CFS found that, in the past 12 months, a total of 10 consignments of products (including the consignment of products involved in the complaint) were pet food and had been exported from Brazil to Hong Kong by the exporter listed on the health certificate concerned.

“The product concerned included eight consignments of frozen chicken feet, a consignment of cattle offal products and a consignment of pig offal products and pig feet. All the health certificates of the 10 consignments were issued on or before 21 March 2017 [the day the CFS announced the import ban of Brazilian frozen and chilled meat and poultry into Hong Kong].

“Among them, six consignments of frozen chicken feet and two consignments of livestock offal products were re-exported to the mainland and Vietnam, and one consignment of frozen chicken feet is being kept in the container terminal and has not entered the market. For the remaining one consignment of about 27 tonnes of frozen chicken feet, according to the information provided by the importer concerned, it had been sold to a buyer. The CFS has already contacted major local retailers and, so far, the concerned consignment of product has not been found on sale in the local market. The CFS is further investigating whether this consignment of product has been re-exported to other places outside Hong Kong.”

The spokesman added that in response to this incident, the CFS has immediately stepped up its verification checks of all health certificates issued for frozen meat and poultry exported from Brazil to Hong Kong.

The issue has also been reported to the Hong Kong Police and the Brazilian authorities.

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