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

Use of Sorbic Acid in Food

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) detected sorbic acid in two prepacked Lunar New Year foods in its seasonal food surveillance. One sample of rice cake was detected with sorbic acid, a preservative not permitted in rice cake. And one sample of pork floss cracker was detected with sorbic acid which was not properly labelled. Usual consumption of the products concerned is unlikely to pose any adverse health effect. The CFS has informed the public of the incidents and instructed the trade stop selling the products.

Sorbic acid is of low-toxicity. It is allowed to be used in many foods, such as fruit/vegetable juices, ready-to-eat soups and broths, fried fish ball, dried apricots and raisins. The CFS reminds the trade to use sorbic acid only in food stipulated in the law and at a level not exceeding the maximum permitted level. Moreover, its use should be properly labelled. The public is advised to buy food from reliable retailers and maintain a balanced diet.