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Two bamboo fungus samples detected with preservative exceeding legal limit
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (August 25) that two bamboo fungus samples, one prepackaged and one loose-packed, were found to contain sulphur dioxide, a preservative, at levels exceeding the legal limit. The trade should stop using or selling the affected products immediately.

     Details of the pre-packaged bamboo fungus are as follows:

Product name: Dried Bamboo Fungus
Brand name: Harvest Garden
Place of origin: China
Distributor: Luen Kee Hoo Co Ltd
Best-before date: October 17, 2017
Net weight: 100 grams per pack

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS collected the prepackaged sample and the loose-packed sample from two retail outlets in Sheung Wan and Wan Chai respectively for testing under its regular Food Surveillance Programme. The test results showed that the samples contained sulphur dioxide at levels of 2,820 parts per million (ppm) and 3,190 ppm respectively, exceeding the legal limit of 500 ppm."

     The CFS has informed the vendors concerned of the irregularities and instructed them to stop selling and remove from shelves the affected products. The CFS is also tracing the source and distribution of the affected products.

     Sulphur dioxide is a commonly used preservative in a variety of foods including dried vegetables, dried fruits, pickled vegetables and meat products. This preservative is of low toxicity. As it is water soluble, most of it can be removed through washing and cooking. Based on the level of sulphur dioxide detected in the unsatisfactory samples, adverse health effects will not be caused under usual consumption. However, for individuals who are allergic to this preservative, there may be symptoms of shortness of breath, headache and nausea. The public are advised to seek medical treatment if they feel unwell after eating the food.

     The spokesman reminded the food trade that the use of preservatives in food must comply with the Preservatives in Food Regulation (Cap 132BD). Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment upon conviction. Members of the public should buy food from reliable suppliers, and maintain a balanced diet so as to avoid excessive intake of certain chemicals as a result of frequent consumption of a small range of food items.

     The CFS will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate actions.
Ends/Thursday, August 25, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:00
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