Food Safety Focus (43rd Issue, February 2010) – Food Incident Highlight

Aluminium in Jellyfish

Last month, Beijing authority released the results of a survey which found excessive amount of aluminium in some jellyfish products. This news was reported in local newspapers, which raised some public concerns.

Aluminium potassium sulphate (INS No. 522), commonly known as alum, has been used as a firming agent in the processing of jellyfish. Excess amount of aluminium in jellyfish may be due to use of alum as food additive. Since aluminium compounds have demonstrated adverse reproductive and developmental effects in experimental animals, there have been recent concerns on excessive intake of aluminium from food.

The Centre for Food Safety has devised the Guidelines on the Use of Aluminium-containing Food Additives and urged the trade to adopt measures stipulated in the Guidelines to reduce the aluminium content in food. The public is advised to maintain a balanced diet and limit consumption of jellyfish products, so as to avoid excessive exposure to aluminium from a small range of food items.