Public warned against consuming prepacked candied water chestnuts containing sulphur dioxide

Subsequent to a recently completed seasonal food surveillance project to assess the safety of Lunar New Year (LNY) food, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department continues to monitor the safety of LNY food and has found a kind of prepacked candied water chestnuts contain a preservative, sulphur dioxide.

A spokesman for the CFS today (January 29) urged people with sulphur dioxide allergy to refrain from consuming the product.

The spokesman also urged the trade to stop selling the product immediately.

Product details are as follows (product name in Chinese only):

Retailer: Vanguard
Packer: Chan Yin Kee Co Ltd
Net weight: 400 grammes
Best before: December 28, 2014

"The CFS collected further LNY food samples from the market for tests. The sample collected from the above-mentioned retail outlet was found containing the preservative, sulphur dioxide, at a level of 800 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the legal limit of 500 ppm. The food is unlikely to pose adverse health effect upon normal consumption. But people who are allergic to sulphur dioxide may experience symptoms like breathing difficulty, headache and nausea," the spokesman said.

He said a warning letter had been issued to the retailer and packer concerned. CFS staff have conducted checks on the concerned retailer and found that sale of the product has been stopped.

He advised consumers who bought the product with the abovementioned "best before date" and are allergic to sulphur dioxide to stop eating it. People should seek medical treatment if they feel unwell after taking the food.

The CFS will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up action. No reports of people feeling unwell after consumption of the affected product or complaints about it have so far been received.

Ends/Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:00