Chinese Medicine Regulatory Office

Recall of Chinese herbal medicine detected with pesticide residue

  The Department of Health (DH) today (March 29) endorsed a licensed Chinese herbal medicines (Chms) wholesaler, Zheng Cao Tang Medicine Hong Kong Company Limited (Zheng Cao Tang), to voluntarily recall from the market a batch of Chm, Herba Dendrobii (batch number: C22209063), as organophosphate pesticide was detected in the decoction prepared from the Chm.

  During the DH's market surveillance, sample of the above Chm was collected for testing. Testing result from the Government Laboratory revealed that organophosphate pesticide was detected in the decoction prepared from the sample (each kilogram of Herba Dendrobii contained 0.18 milligrams of triazophos). According to the limit set out by the Chinese Medicines Board of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK), triazophos is not allowed to be detected in the decoction prepared from the 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. However, 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.

  The spokesman added that Chm should be rinsed under running water before decocting to remove the dirt on the surface, to ensure the cleanliness of the Chm. Chm should also be fully soaked in water before decoction.

  According to the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap. 549), Herba Dendrobii is a Schedule 2 Chm. Herba Dendrobii, the stem of Dendrobium loddigesii Rolfe., Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook. var. oculatum Hook, Dendrobium chrysanthum Wall., Dendrobium candidum Wall. Ex Lindl. or Dendrobium nobile Lindl, is used to boost the stomach, engender fluid, nourish yin and clear heat.

  Preliminary investigation indicated that the above batch of Chm was imported from the Mainland. Zheng Cao Tang has set up hotline (2857 6600) for related enquiries. The DH will closely monitor the recall.

  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 them immediately and submit them to the Chinese Medicine Regulatory Office of the DH on 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, during office hours for disposal. People who have taken the above Chm and feel unwell should seek advice from healthcare professionals.

Chinese Medicine Regulatory Office
29 March 2023