Two prepackaged food samples not in compliance with nutrition label rules

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 11) announced that the nutrient contents of two prepackaged food samples, namely a soft brown sugar sample and a grapeseed oil sample, were found to be inconsistent with the declared value on their nutrition labels. The CFS urged the trade to stop selling the affected batches of the products immediately.

Product details are as follows:

(1) Product name: Taikoo Soft Brown Sugar
Place of origin: Mauritius
Brand owner: Taikoo Sugar Limited
Net weight: One pound per box (454 grams)
Best-before date: February 26, 2017

(2) Product name: Olitalia Grapeseed Oil
Place of origin: Italy
Distributor: Lorence & Company
Volume: One litre per bottle
Best-before date: July 8, 2017

"The above-mentioned samples of soft brown sugar and grapeseed oil were taken from two supermarkets respectively in Tsim Sha Tsui and Sheung Wan for testing under the CFS' regular Food Surveillance Programme. The results of chemical analyses showed that the soft brown sugar sample contained sodium at a level of 49 milligrams per 100g, which was not consistent with the declared content (26mg per 100g) on its nutrition label, and the grapeseed oil sample contained trans fat at a level of 1.9g per 100ml, not tallying with the declared content (0.9g per 100ml) on its nutrition label," a spokesman for the CFS said.

According to the CFS' Technical Guidance Notes on Nutrition Labelling and Nutrition Claims, the tolerance limits for contents of sodium and trans fat are both set at the level of not more than 120 per cent of the labelled value.

"The CFS has informed the retailers concerned of the irregularities and instructed them to remove from shelves and stop sale of the affected batches of the products. Prosecution will be instituted should there be sufficient evidence. The CFS has also followed up with the brand owner and the distributor concerned to trace the distribution of the affected products, and advised them to stop sale of the products and remove them from shelves," he added.

The spokesman urged the trade to observe the relevant laws and regulations. According to Section 61 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132), if any person falsely describes a food or misleads as to the nature, substance or quality of the food on a label of the food sold by him, he shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment upon conviction.

The CFS will inform the trade, continue to follow up on the cases and take appropriate action.

Ends/Friday, December 11, 2015