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Undeclared allergen found in lecithin powder (with photo)

A spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (February 20) advised consumers who are allergic to milk to refrain from eating a kind of lecithin powder, O'Health Lecithin Powder, available for sale at O'Farm, as it has been found to contain a food allergen (milk) that was not declared on the product's food label. The trade should also stop selling it immediately.

Product details are as follows:

Product name: O'Health Lecithin Powder
Manufacturer: O'Health Co Ltd in Taiwan
Importer: O'Farm Limited
Country of origin: Germany
Net Weight: 320 grammes per can

"In response to a food complaint, the CFS took a sample of O'Health Lecithin Powder from the shop concerned for testing. Results showed that it contained milk protein and lactose but the presence of these substances was not declared in the list of ingredients on the product's food label. Warning letters have been issued to the vendor concerned and the importer. The trade has also been alerted to stop selling the affected product," the spokesman said.

He said that, according to the information provided by the importer, the affected product had been imported to Hong Kong from Taiwan and was available for sale at the retail stores of O'Farm and on its website. The importer has stopped sale of the affected product and initiated a recall. For enquiries about the recall, members of the public may call the retail company at 8111 1575 during office hours.

The spokesman advised consumers who were allergic to milk should stop eating the product, regardless of batches. People should seek medical treatment if they feel unwell after eating it.

"People who are allergic to milk may have immunologic response like vomiting, diarrhoea and rash upon consumption of food containing this allergen. In severe cases anaphylactic shock may even develop. As for other members of the public, generally speaking, they would not be subject to such reactions when the food in question is consumed," the spokesman said.

The Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations (Cap. 132W) require that all prepackaged food for sale in Hong Kong should list out the food ingredients in its list of ingredients. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment.

The CFS will monitor the developments of the incident and take appropriate actions as and when necessary.


The Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (February 20) urged people who are allergic to milk to refrain from eating O'Health Lecithin Powder, as shown in the photo, as it has been found to contain a food allergen (milk) that was not declared on the product's food label.


Ends/Thursday, February 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:28

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Last revision date: 20-02-2014