Canned Hunts pasta sauce found contaminated with pesticide

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Hunts Pasta Sauce (Traditional)

30th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Food Safety (CFS), a division of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, issued a public advisory today (May 30) after discovering traces of the pesticide ethylene oxide in various brands of canned pasta sauce. As a precautionary measure, the CFS has urged the public to refrain from consuming the affected products, while simultaneously instructing retailers and distributors to immediately cease the sale and distribution of these items.

The contaminated products in question are Hunts Pasta Sauce (Traditional), Hunts Pasta Sauce (Mushroom), and Hunts Pasta Sauce (Garlic & Herb). These sauces, imported by SIMS Trading Company Limited from the United States, weigh 24 ounces (680 grams) each and bear specific best-before dates. The affected sauces were found to contain ethylene oxide, a pesticide classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The CFS conducted routine tests as part of its Food Surveillance Programme, collecting samples from two supermarkets located in Kowloon City and Tsing Yi. Upon receiving the test results, which confirmed the presence of ethylene oxide, the CFS promptly notified the relevant vendors and instructed them to remove the affected products from their shelves. The importer, SIMS Trading Company Limited, has initiated a recall of the contaminated sauces as per the CFS’s instructions.

In accordance with the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM), it is prohibited to sell any food product containing pesticide residues that could pose a danger to human health. Violators of this regulation may face a maximum fine of $50,000 and a prison sentence of up to six months upon conviction. The CFS has emphasized the importance of adhering to these regulations to ensure public safety.

The CFS has established a dedicated hotline, 2262 1559, to address any enquiries related to the recall of the affected products. Members of the public are encouraged to reach out during office hours for further information.