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Food Safety Focus (147th Issue, October 2018) – Food Incident Highlight

Glyphosate in Oats

Recently, there have been news and publications regarding the herbicide glyphosate found in oatmeal. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A), though Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other relevant overseas authorities could not establish linkage between glyphosate and cancer in humans at this stage.  Setting Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) is one of the approaches in regulating levels of glyphosate and other herbicides in foods worldwide including Hong Kong to safeguard food safety.

Under the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap.132CM), MRL of glyphosate in oats is 30 mg/kg which is the same standard adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex).  CFS has been collecting oatmeal samples under the food surveillance programme for testing glyphosate and so far all samples were satisfactory.  There is no cause for concern over usual consumption of oatmeal products by consumers.