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Dried conch sample detected with preservative exceeding legal limit
  The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 23) announced that a loose-packed dried conch sample was found to contain a preservative, sulphur dioxide, at a level exceeding the legal limit. The CFS is following up on the case.
  A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS earlier on announced that a loose-packed dried sliced sea volute sample taken from a retail outlet in Tai Po was found to contain excessive sulphur dioxide. In its follow-up investigation, the Centre took a dried conch sample from the same vendor for testing. The test result showed that the sample contained sulphur dioxide at a level of 700 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the legal limit of 30 ppm."
  The spokesman said the CFS had informed the vendor concerned of the irregularity and the vendor had stopped selling and removed from shelves the affected product according to CFS’ instruction. The CFS is also tracing the source of the affected product. Should there be sufficient evidence, prosecution will be instituted.
  Sulphur dioxide is a commonly used preservative in a variety of foods including dried vegetables, dried fruits, pickled vegetables and processed meat and aquatic 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 level of sulphur dioxide detected in the unsatisfactory 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 continue to follow up on the case and take appropriate action.
Ends/Friday, December 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:55
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