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Vinegar sample detected with preservative ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (October 14) that a bottled vinegar sample was found to contain ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate, a preservative not permitted in vinegar. Investigation is on-going.

     Product details are as follows:

Product name: Superior Mature Vinegar
Brand: Gold Plum
Place of origin: China
Manufacturer: Jiangsu Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs I/E Group Corp.
Net weight: 500 millilitres per bottle
Best-before date: May 18, 2018

     "The CFS collected the vinegar sample from a restaurant with a general restaurant licence in Kowloon City under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that the sample contained ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate at a level of 187 parts per million," the spokesman said.

     According to the Preservatives in Food Regulation (subsidiary legislation of Cap. 132), ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate is not a permitted preservative in vinegar. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment.

     The CFS has informed the restaurant concerned of the irregularity. According to information provided by the restaurant, the bottled vinegar concerned was purchased at a stall in Kowloon City Market and was served as a condiment for use by customers only. The restaurant has voluntarily surrendered the remaining portion of the bottled vinegar to the CFS for disposal. The CFS is tracing the source of the affected product.

     Ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate is a preservative of low toxicity. Based on the level detected in the sample, it is unlikely that the sample would pose any adverse health effect upon usual consumption.

     The CFS will continue to follow up on the case and take appropriate actions to safeguard food safety and public health.
Ends/Friday, October 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:14
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