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Press Release

Recall of Chinese herbal medicine contaminated by solanaceous alkaloids

2 January 2013

The Department of Health (DH) today (January 2) instructed a licensed Chinese medicines wholesaler, Hang Lung Trading Co. (Hang Lung) , located at G/F, No 11 Ko Shing Street, Sheung Wan, to recall from consumers its marketed Chinese herbal medicine Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii, as it was found contaminated by solanaceous alkaloids.

"The recall follows the investigation of a case of solanaceous alkaloid poisoning. DH has issued a press release on December 28, 2012. Samples were obtained for chemical analysis during the investigation at a licensed Chinese medicines retailer in Tsing Yi. Results from the Government Laboratory today confirmed that a sample of Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii contained solanaceous alkaloids, while results for other herbal samples were negative", a DH spokesman said

"While investigation is on-going, upstream tracking thus far revealed that the incriminated batch of Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii (batch number: 210035) was imported by Hang Lung from Mainland for wholesale in Hong Kong. Affected traders are listed in the annex (Chinese only). A hotline 2549 3099 has been set up by Hang Lung for related enquiries," the spokesman added.

"Meanwhile, as investigation continues, the DH is monitoring the recall closely and will refer the finding to the Mainland's relevant authority for their necessary follow-up."

"Up to now, no other adverse report in relation to the affected herbs has been received by the DH," the spokesman remarked.

Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii should not contain solanaceous alkaloids. It is a commonly used herb for dispelling wind and dampness and relieving pain.

"According to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132), selling any food or drug intended for use by man but unfit for that purpose is liable to a maximum penalty of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment. On completion of the investigation, the DH will work with the Department of Justice for prosecution matters," the spokesman remarked.

"Healthcare professionals who have the affected herbs in hand should surrender it to the Chinese Medicine Division of the DH at 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, during office hours; or return the product to the supplier. Moreover, members of the public who have been given or have purchased the affected herbs should stop using them immediately and consult their healthcare providers if feeling unwell," the spokesman said.

02 January 2013