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Invercargill Chinese restaurant admits selling chicken products marked 'not fit for human consumption'

An Invercargill Chinese eatery has admitted selling pet food grade chicken feet to customers after a member of the public spotted the packaging outside.

The box was left outside Hong Kong Restaurant on Esk Street and a photo was taken by local Rachael Bailey and posted online.

The 10kg box of Brinks chicken feet was clearly marked with a sticker reading "Out of spec - pet food only - not fit for human consumption".

Despite that, the company admitted to the Otago Daily Times that it had been selling a dish containing the chicken feet to customers who requested it.

Owner Lisa Wong told the ODT that customers had specifically requested the dish - tuo gu ji zhua - which is made from the meat and skin of the feet.

Her daughter Sammi Li said that "it is one of our cultural foods ... if it wasn't edible for human consumption we wouldn't be selling it."

However, when approached by 1 NEWS yesterday, Invercargill City Council Senior Environmental Health Officer Ann Thompson said when inspectors visited the restaurant, they had denied selling the chicken feet to customers at all.

"The operators have made it clear that the items labelled as "pet food" were for personal use only, and not provided to customers, nor offered on their menu," she said.

"We reminded the operator that, as per their Food Control Plan, the only food that should be stored and prepared on site is food which is for sale to customers."

Ms Thompson said no complaints have been received about Hong Kong Restaurant in the past year, and that they gained an "acceptable" rating during their last food safety review in December of 2018.

A box left outside Hong Kong Restaurant in Invercargill raised concerns.
A box left outside Hong Kong Restaurant in Invercargill raised concerns. Source: Rachael Bailey