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Food Safety Focus (55th Issue, February 2011) – Food Incident Highlight

Hot Pot Flavouring Agent "One Drop of Incense"

Following media reports that allegedly harmful food additives were used in a flavouring agent known as "One Drop of Incense" (ODI) in Mainland China , the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) immediately contacted the Mainland authority concerned which replied that ODI was a hot pot flavouring agent without any harmful food additive identified. Usually, the constituents of a hot pot flavouring agent included vegetable oil and flavourings. The CFS has not found "ODI" available for sale or being used in food locally.

The CFS conducts regular testing on food additives under the routine surveillance programme. To follow up the incident, the CFS immediately collected 10 samples of hot pot soup base from local hot pot restaurants for chemical tests, covering metallic contamination, colouring matters, preservatives and antioxidants and the results were all satisfactory. The CFS will continue to monitor and test hot pot soup products.

The trade should ensure that all foods for sale in Hong Kong should be fit for human consumption. The trade should also take note of the regulatory requirements regarding the use and labelling of food additives in Hong Kong.