Food Safety Focus (128th Issue, March 2017) – Food Incident Highlight
“Formaldehyde on Vegetable Strapping Tape” Rumour Busted
Recently, food safety concerns about the adhesive tape bundling the fresh produce have appeared in the media. Some Mainland media alleged that formaldehyde, a “carcinogenic toxin”, on the strapping tape leached onto the vegetable, causing the produce unfit for consumption.
Formaldehyde may be present in the environment from natural and industrial sources. It occurs naturally in some foods (e.g. cabbage, carrot) in small amounts and has been used in adhesives. It is readily soluble in water and highly volatile. Although formaldehyde is “carcinogenic to humans” via inhalation, it is not carcinogenic upon ingestion. Based on available data and risk assessment conducted by the Centre for Food Safety, there is no cause for undue concern over formaldehyde exposure from vegetables so long as a balanced diet is maintained.