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Bottled blackcurrant jam suspected to contain preservative propionic acid
     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 13) announced that a kind of bottled blackcurrant jam imported from the United Kingdom (UK) was suspected to contain a preservative, propionic acid, which is not permitted in jams, jellies and marmalades. Follow-up is in progress. The trade should stop using or selling the product concerned should they still possess it.

     A spokesman for the CFS said, "The Centre, through its routine Food Incident Surveillance System, noted an announcement by the Taiwan authorities concerned that a kind of bottled blackcurrant jam imported from the UK was found to contain a preservative, propionic acid, at a level which does not comply with their standard. According to Hong Kong legislation, propionic acid is not a preservative permitted in jams, jellies and marmalades. Upon learning of the incident, the CFS immediately followed up with major local importers in Hong Kong. Preliminary investigations found that PARKnSHOP (HK) Limited had imported the affected product into Hong Kong."

     Product details are as follows:

Product name: reduced sugar blackcurrant jam
Brand: essential Waitrose
Importer:  PARKnSHOP (HK) Limited
Net weight: 340 grams per bottle

     The spokesman said that according to information provided by the importer concerned, the affected product was only on sale in its chain of supermarkets. The importer has already stopped the sale of and removed from shelves the affected product according to CFS' instructions.

     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.

     Propionic acid is of low acute toxicity. Usual consumption of food containing propionic acid is unlikely to pose adverse effects to human health, the spokesman noted.

     The CFS will alert the trade, continue to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up action. Investigation is ongoing.
Ends/Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:42
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