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(2 September 2003, Hong Kong) In response to the FEHD's yesterday announcement of discovery of vibrio cholerae in one of PARKnSHOP's fish water tanks, PARKnSHOP has the following updates to the public:

1. Yesterday, we were informed by the FEHD at 4:15pm that vibrio cholerae was found in a fish tank water sample taken from our Chi Fu Store on 26 August.

2. At 4:30pm, the FEHD issued a closure order against our Chi Fu store fish counter and collected environmental swabs for testing, and carried out thorough cleansing and disinfection.

3. In the evening at 9:00pm, PARKnSHOP announced closure of all its fresh fish counters. We were NOT instructed to close our fresh fish counters BUT we took the step as an extra precautionary measure.

Quality Control

4. Every day, around 20,000 catties of fish is distributed through PARKnSHOP's Fresh Fish Centre facility which was opened in May 2001.

5. This HK$6 million built Centre is Asia's only live fish distribution centre which is essential to controlling the fish and fish water quality. The system was designed by Professor Daniel Kwong On Chan, an expert on seafood and seawater safety who is Chair Professor of the University of Hong Kong's Department of Zoology, and Director of the Kadoorie Agricultural Research Centre.

6. The Centre uses a large quantity of water which is collected by water tanker boat from an offshore location everyday. The location is also monitored by the Environmental Protection Department, and every batch of this water is tested every day. We also take Global Positioning Satellite System records of where the boat has been and a copy is emailed back to PARKnSHOP office every morning. If the need arises, it can switch the location to source the cleanest water.

7. Unfortunately some inshore waters in Hong Kong are not of the appropriate cleanliness for food fish. It's therefore extremely important that we control where this boat takes the water. Therefore we pre-designate the water intake point and we ensure the boat visits the same reference coordinates everyday.

8. Even then, we are not satisfied. We do not take any chance. All water is 100% filtered and sterilized before it enters our live fish holding tanks.

9. In all PARKnSHOP stores, 100% of the live fish water come from tap water supply. For live marine fish, we add sterile chemical salt. Our live fish tanks are connected to a three-stage water treatment system comprising of biological sand filter, ultraviolet sterilization and a water chilling system. The system is designed and operate according to world class standard.

10. PARKnSHOP has commissioned the Hong Kong Productivity Council two years ago to conduct and independent study on PARKnSHOP's live fish supply system and they were satisfied with our in-store filtration system.

11. In terms of live fish supply, our fish either directly comes from fish farm in coastal Guangdong area or via Aberdeen Fish Wholesale Market.

Routine Testing

12. Every week, we test about 90 samples of water. These samples are sent to our Food Safety Laboratory in Sheung Shui.

13. We test the water samples for a range of water quality indicator and pathogenic bacteria. That means if the water contains any type of cholera, this will be detected in our surveillance.

14. According to our records of the past five years, we have never detected any pathogenic strain of cholerae.

15. We have a comprehensive maintenance programme which includes UV sterilizing lights replacements. According to our records, our existing UV sterilizing lights are in average 3 months old and in effective conditions.

Our Immediate Actions

16. PARKnSHOP has taken the extra pre-cautionary steps to close all fish counters from last night.

17. What we have done today at the Fresh Fish Centre is to sample every one of the 35 filtration systems here. At the store level, samples will be collected from all water tanks today and tomorrow for testing.

18. Like usual, we will test the water samples for a range of water quality indicator and pathogenic bacteria. That means if the water contains any type of cholera, this will be detected in our surveillance.

19. As a pre-cautionary measure, all live fish currently in our stores will be destroyed.

20. The water system will be emptied, washed and disinfected, refilled with new filter sand, and refilled with fresh tap water and chemical salt. It will then be tested again allowing us to be extra sure that there is no residual cholerae before we restock the tank.

21. We will replace all sand filters and UV sterilizing lights as an extra pre-cautionary measure.

Initial Analysis

22. Historically, live fish water tank has been a problem area in Hong Kong. For this reason, PARKnSHOP invested millions of dollar in live fish facilities. We are fully confident that live fish water is not the root cause of the problem in this case.

23. Therefore we will be focusing our investigation at this time to the live fish supply chain in Hong Kong.

24. We expect the testing would take about 3 to 4 days.

Customer can refund in any of our stores

25. Food safety is a No.1 priority at PARKnSHOP. We will re-open our live fish counters when we are totally satisfied that the problem has been resolved.

26. Meanwhile, any customer have bought any live fish at PARKnSHOP may come to us for refund at any store.

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For Media Enquiry:

Teresa Pang, Public Relations Manager of PARKnSHOP at Media Hotline 2687 5602