Lard sample with excessive peroxide value found by CFS

A spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (November 10) said that the peroxide value of a sample of lard, produced by Cheng I Food Co Ltd (Cheng I) in Taiwan, exceeded the relevant standard. As a Food Safety Order (Order) has been issued earlier concerning fats and oils produced by Cheng I, the CFS believes that the affected lard is no longer in circulation in the local market.

Details of the lard sample are as follows:

Product name: Refined lard (translation)
Net weight: 16 kilograms (kg) per carton
Manufacturing date: January 6, 2014
Place of origin: Taiwan
Manufacturer: Cheng I Food Co Ltd
Importer: Maxim's Caterers Limited

The spokesman said, "The sample was collected from the storage place of the importer. The test result showed that its peroxide value was 19 milliequivalents (mEq) of active oxygen per kg, exceeding the relevant Codex standard (10 mEq active oxygen per kg). Peroxide value is not a safety indicator, but a quality parameter to indicate the oxidation level of edible oil. Edible oil with a peroxide value exceeding the standard indicates that quality of the oil is unsatisfactory."

He added, "In response to the substandard lard incident in Taiwan, the CFS has taken some 210 samples of high-risk and possibly contaminated food products and lard for testing. Except for the above-mentioned sample and another lard sample which was announced earlier, the peroxide value of all samples passed the tests. The overall satisfactory rate was 99 per cent."

To safeguard Hong Kong's public health, the FEHD has issued three Food Safety Orders in relation to the substandard fats and oils in Taiwan. Apart from Cheng I, all edible fats and oils produced by Chang Guann Co Ltd, Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co Ltd, Beei Hae Oil And Fats Co Ltd and Shyeh Chyng Enterprise Co Ltd, and all food products made with the above-mentioned fats and oils, are prohibited from being imported into and supplied within Hong Kong. Food traders are also mandated to recall the affected food supplied by them in a systematic manner so as to ensure that they are no longer in circulation in the local market. Furthermore, as the safety and quality of Taiwan's fats and oils products remain questionable, the FEHD earlier took precautionary measures to stop the import into and supply within Hong Kong of all edible oils from Taiwan. The measures are still in force, covering all fats and oils produced in Taiwan which are not stipulated in the three Orders.

Between October 9 and 30, the CFS has marked and sealed about 240 tonnes of edible fats and oils imported from Taiwan.

The CFS will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action, which includes liaising closely with the Taiwanese authorities, conducting investigation and monitoring the recall. The CFS will also adopt a risk-based approach and enhance surveillance of edible oil and relatively high-risk foods imported from other places to ensure food safety.

Ends/Monday, November 10, 2014