Only one sample of rice dumpling collected by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) for testing had failed and it was found to contain a trace amount of non-permitted colouring matter, Sudan IV.
Results for the other 48 samples were all satisfactory.
Announcing the results at a press briefing today (May 22), Principal Medical Officer of CFS, Dr Tina Mok said the rice dumpling in question was taken from a restaurant and was supplied by a food factory in Yuen Long.
"The level of Sudan IV detected was 0.12ppm. Normal consumption should not have any adverse health effects on consumers.
"The CFS has asked the concerned restaurant to stop selling the rice dumplings in question. The relevant food factory would also remove the concerned products from the market and dispose of the concerned ingredients.
Apart from tests on colouring matters, chemical tests are conducted to detect preservatives (such as boric acid, salicylic acid and benzoic acid), heavy metals (such as arsenic, cadmium and mercury) and pesticide residues (such as methamidophos and DDT). The microbiological tests cover pathogenic bacteria (such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus).
"Boric acid was sometimes found to be abused in the manufacturing process. Our current results, however, show that no boric acid has been detected in the samples," she said.
Dr Mok appealed to the trade to take note of the following points when preparing and storing rice dumplings:
* Purchase food ingredients from reliable suppliers;
* Comply with the legal requirements when using food additives;
* Cook rice dumplings thoroughly;
* Rice dumplings should be stored at either 4 degree Celsius or below; or 60 degree Celsius or above to protect them from deterioration.
Dr Mok also appealed to consumers to observe the following safety tips when purchasing and preparing rice dumplings:
Ends/Tuesday, May 22, 2007
* Buy rice dumplings from reliable retail outlets and do not patronise illegal hawkers;
* Choose rice dumplings that are securely wrapped in bamboo leaves;
* Reheat the rice dumplings thoroughly for at least 15 minutes with the centre temperature at or above 75 degrees Celsius before consumption.
* Consume rice dumplings after purchase as soon as possible and avoid prolonged storage;
* During storage, keep the rice dumplings in the refrigerator at or below four degrees Celsius;
* Discard all leftover rice dumplings if they have been left at room temperature for more than two hours;
* Maintain a balanced diet. Take at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables every day.