Häagen-Dazs Hong Kong has apologised after the city's food safety watchdog halted the sale of the company's two types of vanilla ice cream products from France as they were suspected of containing an unauthorised substance.
The announcement by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) on Tuesday (June 21) came a day after Taiwan's food authorities found ethylene oxide, a pesticide banned by the European Union, in the two products which had also been imported to Hong Kong, according to an initial investigation.
The batches in question are Häagen-Dazs' pint-sized and bulk-sized vanilla ice cream with the expiration dates of April 13, 2023, and Oct 26, 2022 respectively.
"Since ethylene oxide is not authorised by the EU, for the sake of prudence, the local importer has stopped sales and removed from shelves the affected batches of the products upon the CFS's instructions and has initiated a recall," the watchdog said in a statement.
The centre also urged the public not to consume the products and called on businesses to stop selling them, adding that it would follow up on the investigation and take appropriate action.
"We sincerely apologise for the concern and inconvenience that this incident has caused to our customers," General Mills Hong Kong Limited, a local importer of Häagen-Dazs said in a statement on Tuesday, noting that the affected products only involved a specific batch while others were in compliance with Hong Kong regulation.
The Post has asked Häagen-Dazs Hong Kong how many boxes of affected ice cream were sold in the city.
This is not the first time ethylene oxide has been found in ice cream in the city. In December 2021, the pesticide was also detected in six types of Godiva ice cream flavours.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, ethylene oxide is a flammable gas with a sweet odour and it is commonly used in industrial cleaning disinfectants.
Exposure to the pesticide may lead to symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and breathing difficulty.
Any queries about the recall can be directed to Häagen-Dazs at 2629 6116.