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Food safety report for June released

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (July 30) released the findings of its food safety report for June. Of the 6,100 food samples tested, 13 samples were found to be unsatisfactory and the overall satisfactory rate was 99.8%.

A CFS spokesman said that about 4,100 food samples were taken for chemical tests and the remaining 1,900 for microbiological and other tests. Among the 13 unsatisfactory samples, four samples of soft ice-cream and ice-cream scoop were announced earlier.

The microbiological tests cover pathogens and the chemical tests detect pesticides, preservatives, metallic contamination and colouring matters, etc.

The samples included vegetables, fruits and their products; meat, poultry and their products; aquatic products; milk, milk products and frozen confections; and cereals, grains and their products.

Vegetables, fruits and products

About 2,100 samples of vegetables, fruits and their products were taken for microbiological and chemical tests. All the samples were satisfactory.

Meat, poultry and products

About 400 samples of meat, poultry and their products were taken for microbiological and chemical tests.

One sample of fresh beef was found to contain the preservative sulphur dioxide, which is not permitted in fresh meat (including chilled and frozen), at a level of 1,800 parts per million (ppm). The CFS issued a warning letter to the shop operator concerned and collected a follow-up sample. The result was satisfactory. The CFS will closely monitor the meat sold in the concerned shop. If selling of an unsatisfactory sample is again detected, the CFS will take prosecution action. Upon conviction, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will impose the penalty of suspension or cancellation of the concerned licence according to the Demerit Points System.

Another sample of cooked chicken with chili was found to contain the pathogen, salmonella.

Samples for other tests including veterinary drug residues and colouring matters were satisfactory.

Aquatic products

About 400 samples, including fish, shellfish, shrimp, prawn, crab, squid and their products, were analysed for micro-organisms and chemicals.

Four unsatisfactory samples were found.

One sample of chilled swordfish and one of frozen black cod were found to contain mercury at a level of 1.02ppm and 0.75ppm respectively, exceeding the legal limit of 0.5ppm. At the detected mercury levels, occasional consumption would not cause adverse health effect but consumption on a long-term basis may affect the nervous system.

One sample of chilled grey mullet and one of edible goldfish were found to contain a non-permitted veterinary drug residue, malachite green, at a level of 0.0025ppm and 0.04ppm respectively.

Further importation of the relevant products from the concerned importers will be subjected to hold and test. If unsatisfactory results are found in the follow up sample, the CFS will collect evidence and take prosecution action.

Results of other tests including for pathogens, preservatives, colouring matters and biotoxins were satisfactory.

Milk, milk products and frozen confections

The CFS took about 1,600 samples of milk, milk products and frozen confections for microbiological and chemical analyses (including for melamine, colouring matters and sweeteners). Other than the four previously announced samples of soft ice cream and ice cream scoop, all samples were satisfactory.

Cereals, grains and products

About 200 samples including rice, noodles, flour, bread and breakfast cereal was tested for micro-organisms and chemicals. All the samples were satisfactory.

Other food commodities

The CFS took about 1,300 samples, including beverages, dim sum, sushi, sashimi, sugar, sweets, condiments, sauces, snacks, eggs and egg products for tests.

Three unsatisfactory samples were found. One mango Swiss roll and one mango pudding mousse cake were found to contain salmonella while a coconut pudding sample was found to have the pathogen, bacillus cereus, at a level of 490,000 per gramme.


The CFS spokesman reminded the food trade to follow the "Five keys to Food Safety" in preparing food, especially in summer when foods perish fast in the hotter temperatures.

He reiterated that the trade should put in place food safety control plans to ensure food safety in the production process. The food trade should also comply with the legal requirements. They should use permitted food additives only in an appropriate manner. No food containing malachite green should be sold for human consumption.

Pregnant women, women planning pregnancy and young children are susceptible to mercury. They should avoid eating large predatory fish.

Regarding all the unsatisfactory samples, the CFS has taken follow-up action, including asking the concerned vendors to stop selling and to dispose of the affected food, taking further samples and issuing warning letters. Prosecution will be taken if there is sufficient evidence.

Ends/Friday, July 30, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:40

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Last revision date:30-07-2010