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Food Safety Focus (125th Issue, December 2016) – Food Incident Highlight

Aluminium-containing Additives in Foods Can be Reduced/Replaced

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety released its follow-up study on aluminium in food. Animal studies showed aluminium compounds may affect reproduction and development. Food is the major source of aluminium intake. The study revealed that foods high in aluminium-containing additives include jelly fish, steamed bun/cake and some bakery products such as egg waffles. Risk assessment showed that the general public are unlikely to experience undesirable health effects of aluminium. However, for consumers with brand loyalty to products with high aluminium levels, adverse health effects cannot be ruled out.

The trade should reduce the levels of aluminium-containing additives in food or replacing them by other alternatives (e.g. monocalcium phosphates for sodium aluminium phosphates as a leavening agent and calcium silicate for aluminium silicate as an anticaking agent). The public is advised to maintain a balanced diet so as to avoid excessive exposure of aluminium from a small range of foods. When purchasing prepackaged foods, consumers can refer to the food labels on whether aluminium-containing additives have been used.