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CFS announces food safety report for August

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) today (September 30) released the findings of its food safety report for last month. Of the 10 400 food samples tested, three samples of fermented red bean curd failed the chemical tests. The overall satisfactory rate was 99.97 per cent.

     A CFS spokesman said about 3 800 food samples had been taken for chemical tests. Some 1 500 samples were collected for microbiological tests and the remaining 5 000 (including about 4 800 samples taken from food imported from Japan) were collected for testing of radiation levels.

     The microbiological tests covered pathogens and hygienic indicators while the chemical tests aimed at detecting pesticides, preservatives, metallic contamination, colouring matters, veterinary drug residues, plasticisers and others.

     The samples included vegetables and fruits and their products; meat and poultry and their products; aquatic and related products; milk, milk products and frozen confections; and cereals, grains and their products.

Vegetables, fruits and their products

     The CFS took about 2 500 samples of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, preserved vegetables and pickled fruits, dried vegetables and ready-to-eat vegetables for analyses. Results were all satisfactory.

Meat, poultry and their products

     The CFS completed the testing of about 900 samples, including fresh, chilled and frozen pork, beef and poultry, ready-to-eat dishes of meat and poultry served at food establishments, and meat- and poultry-made products such as Chinese preserved meat, sausages and ham. All samples were satisfactory.

Aquatic and related products

     The CFS took some 1 500 samples of fish, shellfish, shrimp, prawn, crab and squid and their products for analyses with all results satisfactory.

Milk, milk products and frozen confections

     About 800 samples of ice-cream, cheese, milk and milk products were collected for analyses. All samples passed the tests.

Cereals, grains and their products

     The CFS took about 600 samples of rice, noodles, flour, bread and breakfast cereals for analyses. All samples passed the tests.

Other food commodities

     The CFS took about 4 100 food samples consisting of mixed dishes, dim sum, beverages, sushi, sashimi, sugar, sweets, condiments, sauces, snacks, eggs and egg products for tests.

     Three samples of fermented red bean curd were found to contain Sudan II, a colouring matter not permitted in food. The samples concerned were taken from products of three different packaging and batches from the distributor concerned when the CFS followed up on a case where fermented red bean curd from a local grocery was found to contain Sudan II earlier.

     The distributor concerned has stopped the sale of the affected products since mid-July and voluntarily initiated a recall from retailers, and the importer has also suspended further imports.

    "There have been research results showing that Sudan dyes will cause cancer in animal tests but no sufficient evidence has been found to prove that they will cause cancer in humans," the spokesman said.

     Samples for other tests (e.g. pathogens, preservatives and metallic contaminants) were found to be satisfactory.

Testing of radiation level after Fukushima incident

     The CFS has been collecting about 50 000 food samples imported from Japan each year since the Fukushima incident in 2011 for testing of radiation levels. For aquatic and related products originating from Japan, the centre tested around 900 samples in August this year and all were satisfactory. Results of surveillance on food imported from Japan are uploaded to the CFS' website daily.


     The CFS has taken follow-up actions on the unsatisfactory samples including tracing the sources of the food items, asking the vendors concerned to stop sale and dispose of the affected food and issuing warning letters. Prosecution will be launched if there is sufficient evidence.

     The spokesman reminded the food trade to comply with the legal requirements and follow Good Manufacturing Practice and use permitted food additives only in an appropriate manner.
     The spokesman also appealed to retailers to source food from reliable suppliers and maintain a good recording system in accordance with the Food Safety Ordinance to allow source tracing if needed.

     Consumers should patronise reliable shops when buying food and maintain a balanced diet to minimise food risk.

Ends/Monday, September 30, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:38


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