Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
CFS announces food safety report for August

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (September 30) released the findings of its food safety report for last month. The results of about 12 600 food samples tested were found to be satisfactory except for 15 unsatisfactory samples which were announced earlier. The overall satisfactory rate was 99.9 per cent.

     A CFS spokesman said about 1 500 food samples were collected for microbiological tests, some 4 100 samples were taken for chemical tests and the remaining 7 000 (including about 6 600 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 contaminants, colouring matter, veterinary drug residues and others.

     The samples comprised about 3 500 samples of vegetables and fruits and their products; 700 samples of meat and poultry and their products; 1 700 samples of aquatic and related products; 800 samples of milk, milk products and frozen confections; 800 samples of cereals, grains and their products; and 5 100 samples of other food commodities (including beverages, bakery products and snacks).

     The 15 unsatisfactory samples comprised two fresh milk drinks and one milk drink found with excessive total bacterial counts; two tinned fried daces and one freshwater grouper detected with traces of malachite green; two vegetables found with pesticide residues exceeding the legal limits; two crabs detected with a metallic contaminant, cadmium, over the legal limit; one fresh beef found with a preservative, sulphur dioxide; one soy sauce chicken found with an excessive amount of coagulase-positive staphylococci organisms; one black cod steak detected with excessive mercury; one soft ice-cream detected with coliform counts exceeding the legal limit and one pickled mustard found with an excessive amount of sulphur dioxide.

     The CFS has taken follow-up action on the unsatisfactory samples including informing the trade concerned of the test results, instructing the trade concerned to stop sale of the incriminated food items and tracing the sources of the food items in question.

     Since the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap 132CM) came into effect on August 1 last year, as of August 31 this year the CFS had taken over 32 500 food samples at import, wholesale and retail levels for testing for pesticide residues. The overall unsatisfactory rate is less than 0.4 per cent.

     The spokesman added that excessive pesticide residues in food may arise from the trade not observing Good Agricultural Practice, e.g. using excessive pesticides and not allowing sufficient time for pesticides to decompose before harvesting. The Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of pesticide residues in food is not a safety indicator. It is the maximum concentration of pesticide residues to be permitted in a food commodity under the Good Agricultural Practice when applying pesticides. In this connection, consumption of food with pesticide residues higher than the MRL does not necessarily mean it could lead to any adverse health effect.

     Furthermore, total bacteria counts and coliform organisms are hygienic indicators, and the fact that the amounts detected exceeding legal limits does not mean it would lead to food poisoning. However, manufacturers should review and improve the hygienic conditions in the preparation and distribution of their products.

     The spokesman reminded the food trade to ensure that food is fit for consumption and meets legal requirements. Consumers should patronise reliable shops when buying food and maintain a balanced diet to minimise food risks.

Ends/Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:01


Print this page