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Dried shrimp floss and dried sliced sea volute samples detected with preservative exceeding legal limit
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 12) announced that a prepackaged dried shrimp floss sample and a loose-packed sliced sea volute sample were found to contain a preservative, sulphur dioxide, at levels exceeding the legal limit. The CFS is following up on the cases.

     Details of the prepackaged dried shrimp floss sample are as follows:

Product name:  Japanese Dried Shrimp Floss
Origin: Japan
Distributor:  Bright Overseas Food Limited
Best before date: April 30, 2017
Net weight: 150 grams

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS collected the above-mentioned dried shrimp floss sample and dried sliced sea volute sample respectively from two retail outlets in Sheung Wan and Tai Po for testing under its regular Food Surveillance Programme.  The test results showed that the dried shrimp floss sample and the dried sliced sea volute sample contained sulphur dioxide at levels of 36 parts per million (ppm) and 5830 ppm respectively, exceeding the legal limit of 30 ppm."

     The spokesman said the CFS has taken follow-up actions on the unsatisfactory samples, including informing the vendors concerned of the irregularities and instructing them to stop selling and remove from shelves the affected products. The CFS is also tracing the sources 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. However, individuals who are allergic to this preservative may experience symptoms of shortness of breath, headache and nausea. The spokesman advised the public to consult a doctor if they feel unwell after consuming the food. Based on the levels of sulphur dioxide detected in the two unsatisfactory samples, adverse health effects will not be caused under usual consumption.

     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 cases and take appropriate action.
Ends/Monday, December 12, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:20
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