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Food Safety Focus (104th Issue, March 2015) – Food Incident Highlight

Excessive Cadmium in Dried Mushroom

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) in its regular Food Surveillance Programme found two dried mushroom samples contained cadmium at levels exceeding the legal limit. The CFS has instructed the vendors concerned to stop the sale of the affected products, traced the source and distribution of the food items in question, and alerted the trade and the public of the incident.

Cadmium is a naturally occurring metallic element in the Earth's crust. Food and tobacco smoking are main sources of cadmium exposure to the general population. Cadmium is readily taken up by plants and fungi, and a number of mushroom species have been shown to accumulate cadmium at higher concentrations. Acute toxicity of cadmium due to dietary exposure is very unlikely but prolonged excessive intake of cadmium may have adverse effects on the kidneys and bones.

Although risk assessment conducted by the CFS revealed that usual consumption of the affected dried mushroom will not cause adverse effects to health, for the sake of prudence, consumers who have bought and still possess the affected batches of the products should stop eating them.