Food store fined over maggots in duck meat

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 August, 2010, 12:00am

Tam Sin-yuen too two bites out of a preserved duck leg she bought the previous day from popular food store Wing Wah when she turned it over and made a disgusting discovery.

The other side of the leg, which she had earlier cooked in a rice cooker, was covered with maggots.

'I immediately checked if they were just on the leg or in the rice. I felt disgusted,' Tam said, adding that she immediately threw out both the leg and the rice.

Tam, 26, said there were 10 to 20 maggots on the meat.

After she made the discovery on November 15, her family initially persuaded her not to complain as only one of three legs bought from Wing Wah in a three-for-two deal was infested.

But she later did and as a result the store chain was fined HK$1,500 in Kowloon City Court yesterday for selling a preserved duck leg infested with maggots.

The court heard that by the time she decided to make a complaint in the evening, the rubbish had been collected and she only had the packaging - which also had maggots on it - to give to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. Department health inspector Law King-wai said the maggots in the packaging were between 5 to 20 millimetres long.

For Wing Wah, lawyer Edward Gopaoco said the brand had been established in 1950 and its cake shop became a registered business in 1980. It was the first time the company had been convicted for selling food not of the nature demanded by the purchaser.

Gopaoco asked why Tam did not keep the duck legs in the refrigerator as instructed on the label. Tam said: 'But they were not in a fridge when they were sold.'

She said that she checked the other two duck legs and ate them within a week.

She suspected that there had been a quality control error, but the incident had not made her lose confidence in the company.

However, outside the court, she said that she liked duck meat and would definitely continue to eat it, but she said she would not buy it from Wing Wah.

A spokeswoman for Wing Wah said: 'We've been selling preserved food for so many years. This has never happened before.' But she said that the company would look into the matter.