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Preserved pomelo sample detected with preservative exceeding legal limit
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 13) announced that a prepackaged preserved pomelo sample was found to contain a preservative, benzoic acid, at a level exceeding the legal limit. The CFS is following up on the case.

     Details of the product are as follows:

Product name: Preserved pomelo
Place of origin: China
Agent: M-CT Associate (HK) Ltd
Best before date: December 30, 2017
Net weight: 230 grams

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS collected the above-mentioned sample from a retail outlet in Sham Shui Po for testing under its regular Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that the sample contained benzoic acid at a level of 1350 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the legal limit of 1000 ppm."

     The spokesman said the CFS has taken follow-up actions on the unsatisfactory sample, including informing the vendor concerned of the irregularity and instructing it to stop selling and remove from shelves the affected product. The CFS is also tracing the source and distribution of the affected product.

     Benzoic acid is a commonly used preservative in preserved food products, which is of low toxicity. Based on the level of benzoic acid detected in the sample, 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 alert the trade, continue to follow up on the case and take appropriate actions.

Ends/Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:07
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