Recall of Chinese herbal medicine exceeding limit of pesticide residue (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (March 14) endorsed a licensed Chinese herbal medicines (Chm) wholesaler, Luen Hing Ho, to voluntarily recall from the market a batch of Chm, Fructus Corni (batch number: 170710A), as the pesticide residue of the Chm exceeded the limit set out by the Chinese Medicines Board of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK). 

     During the DH’s market surveillance, sample of the above Chm was collected for analysis. Testing result from the Government Laboratory revealed that Triazophos was detected in the decoction prepared from the above Chm (each kilogram of the herb contains 0.09 milligram of Triazophos). Triazophos is an organophosphate pesticide which is not allowed to be detected in decoction prepared from Chm.

     “Based on the level of pesticide residue detected in the sample, adverse health effects will not be caused under consumption for treatment of diseases. Long-term high level intake of Triazophos may possibly affect the nervous system. So far, no adverse reports related to the use of the above Chm have been received. Investigations are ongoing,” a spokesman for the DH said.

     According to the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap 549), Fructus Corni is the ripe sarcocarp of Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zucc. It is a Schedule 2 Chm of the Ordinance used to tonify and nourish kidney and liver.

     Preliminary investigation indicated that the above batch of Chm was imported by Luen Hing Ho from the Mainland. Luen Hing Ho has set up a hotline (2548 4228) for related enquiries. The DH will closely monitor the recall and has also contacted other main Chm importers in Hong Kong regarding the importation of the above Chm.
     According to section 52 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132), selling any drug not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser is liable to a maximum penalty of $10,000 and three months’ imprisonment. Upon completion of investigation, the DH will work with the Department of Justice on prosecution matters and will also refer the case to the CMCHK for possible disciplinary action. 

     The DH urged members of the public who have purchased the above Chm to stop using it immediately and submit it to the Chinese Medicine Division of the DH on 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, during office hours for disposal. The public who have taken the above Chm and feel unwell should seek advice from healthcare professionals.


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