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Food Safety Focus (71st Issue, June 2012) – Food Incident Highlight

Undeclared Food Allergen Found in Pizza Ingredient

On 2 May 2012, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) issued the first food allergen alert to advise consumers allergic to milk proteins to stop eating a prepackaged pizza mix product since milk protein was found to be present but not listed on the food label. The trade was notified immediately to stop selling the product.

Food allergens are food that can cause food allergies, where they cause an immunologic response in sensitive individuals. People who are allergic to milk protein may develop symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea and rash upon consumption and in severe cases anaphylactic shock.

In Hong Kong, all prepackaged food are required to indicate the presence of the eight specified allergens (sulphite, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans and their products) according to the requirements of the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations. Starting from April 2012, compliance test results of prepackaged food samples with allergens detected but undeclared are published in the CFS Monthly Report. Individuals with food allergies are advised to take note of future alerts issued on the CFS website and to subscribe to E-news to receive e-mail notifications.