Chinese Medicine Regulatory Office

Recall of Chinese herbal medicine soup packs with problematic labels

The Department of Health (DH) today (August 22) endorsed 4 local licensed wholesalers in Chinese herbal medicines(Chm)to conduct voluntary recall of 4 types of Chm soup packs from the market respectively because the concerned wholesalers did not ensure that the container/package containing Schedule 2 Chm was labelled with the name of the Chm.

The 4 recalled Chm soup packs are: “ Tagua Nut and Fritillary Bulbs Soup Pack” (Best Before: 28.06.2018) supplied by Parknshop O/B Parknshop (HK) Limited (Parknshop), “Fructus Momordicase Tea” (batch: 071617) supplied by Kai Tsun Tong International Group Limited (Kai Tsun Tong), “Fritillary Bulb Tagua Nut Soup” (Best Before: 05.10.2018 and 06.12.2018) supplied by Hong Kong Greenking Food Stuff Co. Limited (Greenking) and “ Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosas Dried Crocodile Meat Soup” (batch: D56170414 and D56170720)supplied by Oriental Products Supplies Limited (Oriental).

Acting upon intelligence, DH conducted investigation and found that the above 4 types of Chm soup packs were labelled with Bulbis Fritillariae Cirrhosae/ Fritillary Bulbs (川貝) as one of their ingredients. However, the results of preliminary examination revealed that they contained an unlabelled Schedule 2 Chm, namely Bulbus Fritillariae Ussuriensis (平貝母). Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosae川貝母 (alternative name川貝) is the bulb of Fritillaria cirrhosa D. Don, Fritillaria unibracteata Hsiao et K.C. Hsia, Fritillaria przewalskii Maxim or Fritillaria delavayi Franch; whereas Bulbus Fritillariae Ussuriensis (平貝母) (alternative name平貝) is the bulb of Fritillariae Ussuriensis Maxim. Both of them are Chinese herbal medicines listed in Schedule 2 of Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap. 549), but they are not the same plant species. While DH investigation is ongoing, no related adverse reports have been received so far.

Members of the public can call the following hotlines: 2606 8658 (Parknshop), 2440 2668 (Kai Tsun Tong), 2357 0011 (Greenking) and 2389 5222 (Oriental) for enquiries. The DH will closely monitor the recall of the concerned Chinese herbal medicines.

"According to Section 24 of the Chinese Medicines Regulation (Cap 549F), a holder of a wholesaler licence in Chm shall ensure that the container of a Chinese herbal medicine has the name of the medicine. Contravention is liable to a maximum penalty of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment. Upon completion of the investigation, the DH will work with the Department of Justice on any prosecution matters. The DH will also consider referring the case to the Chinese Medicine Council for possible disciplinary actions.

DH will also consider referring the case to the relevant law enforcement agency to follow up any contravention of other legislation.

"To avoid mislabelling, the DH advises all Chinese medicine traders to follow the names in Schedules 1 and 2 of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance for labelling of Chinese medicine as well as to comply with the relevant Practicing Guidelines,” DH remarked.

Those who have used the above Chm soup packs and feel unwell should seek advice from their health-care professionals as soon as possible.