The Hong Kong government has suspended the import and sale of Salinas-originated romaine lettuce, due to the most recent E.coli outbreak. According to the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the ban has been effective since November 23, 2019, and applies to any and all forms, including head and salad mixes.
Per this latest notice, Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has already identified one importer that has imported product from the region in question; a voluntary recall has since taken place. CFS will also be enhancing the surveillance of “romaine lettuce produced in the U.S. at import and retail levels.” This is a similar course of action that Hong Kong took during the previous romaine-associated outbreaks of April 2018 and November 2018. At that time, import bans were placed on all lettuce originating from California and Arizona. The bans were subsequently lifted February 2019 and March 2019, respectively.
As Western Growers continues its diligent work with growers, FDA and others to investigate and resolve the latest outbreak, we are also working with FAS and its Hong Kong counterparts to address their concerns and reopen trade for the industry as soon as possible. If you are a romaine supplier or exporter who is already experiencing issues into Hong Kong, we encourage you to contact us.
For questions about exporting into Hong Kong, contact Dennis Nuxoll or Tracey Chow.
For questions about the latest E.coli outbreak, contact Hank Giclas or Sonia Salas.