Shanghai is preparing to resume exporting canned pork made by a local company after safety checks despite a contaminated batch in December, according to quality supervisors.
But they acknowledged the findings of Hong Kong's food safety officials who had found traces of nitrofurans metabolite (a potentially harmful substance in food) in a batch of canned meat made by the Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co Ltd.
On December 3, Hong Kong's food and environment hygiene department announced that low levels of the substance were found in canned meat products originated from the company, which is listed on the Shanghai bourse.
On December 6, the Shanghai entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau suspended exports of all the company's food products, including canned meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables.
The bureau also ordered all its canned meat products to be removed from retail outlets.
Zhang Guanghui, deputy director of the bureau, said a dozen batches of the low-sodium canned pork made by the Shanghai firm were examined by the bureau.
"Only samples from the batch that was manufactured in December 2006 and exported to Hong Kong were found to contain the substance," he said.
Zhang did not go into detail about nitrofurans metabolite or say where it came from.
"All of the other batches of canned meat were found to be safe," he said.
"If everything goes smoothly, we will resume exports soon," he said.
Asked about reports of similar findings in Singapore, Zhang said his bureau had not received any details from the city-state.
Zhang said authorities in Shanghai had this year stepped up efforts to ensure food safety. As of the end of last month, all manufacturing and retail bases for agricultural products had been incorporated within the quality supervision system and all food manufacturers have applied for permits, he said.
(China Daily December 13, 2007)