Food Safety Focus (40th Issue, November 2009) – Food Incident Highlight
Lead in Dried Plum
Last month, food authorities in the United States and Malaysia found levels of lead exceeding their legal limits in imported dried plum products.
Lead is a metal that exists naturally in the Earth's crust. It can enter the body via ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption. Lead has no essential function in man, but has a number of adverse effects. In particular, chronic exposure can cause retarded cognitive and intellectual development in children.
In response to the incident, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) collected samples of dried plums for analysis. All test results were found satisfactory. Nevertheless, dried plum products generally have high sodium contents, the CFS advises the public that these products should only be consumed in moderation. Moreover, a balanced diet is recommended.