CFS announces food safety report for November

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 31) released the findings of its food safety report for last month. The results of about 16,400 food samples tested were satisfactory except for 16 samples which were announced earlier. The overall satisfactory rate was 99.9 per cent.
 A CFS spokesman said about 2,000 food samples were collected for microbiological tests, some 4,800 samples were taken for chemical tests and the remaining 9,600 (including about 9,100 taken from food imported from Japan) were collected to test radiation levels.
The microbiological tests covered pathogens and hygienic indicators, while the chemical tests included pesticides, preservatives, metallic contaminants, colouring matters, veterinary drug residues and others.
The samples comprised about 4,000 samples of vegetables and fruit and their products; 1,200 samples of meat and poultry and their products; 1,900 samples of aquatic and related products; 1,000 samples of milk, milk products and frozen confections; 1,100 samples of cereals, grains and their products; and 7,200 samples of other food commodities (including beverages, bakery products and snacks).
The 16 unsatisfactory samples comprised five crab samples and two vegetable samples detected with excessive cadmium, three vegetable samples detected with pesticide residues exceeding the legal limits, two abalone samples found to contain chloramphenicol, two preserved leaf mustard samples detected with sulphur dioxide exceeding the legal limit, a sample of uncooked dumpling wrapper found to contain sorbic acid and an ox spleen sample found to contain excessive Clostridium perfringens.
The CFS has taken follow-up action on the unsatisfactory samples, including informing the vendors concerned of the test results, instructing them to stop selling the affected food items and tracing the sources of the food items in question.
Since the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap 132CM) came into effect on August 1, 2014, as of November 30 this year, the CFS has taken over 162,000 food samples at the import, wholesale and retail levels for testing for pesticide residues. The overall unsatisfactory rate is less than 0.2 per cent.
The spokesman added that excessive pesticide residues in food may arise from the trade not observing Good Agricultural Practice, e.g. using excessive pesticides and/or not allowing sufficient time for pesticides to decompose before harvesting. The maximum residue limits (MRLs) of pesticide residues in food set in the Regulation are not safety indicators. They are the maximum concentrations of pesticide residues to be permitted in a food commodity under Good Agricultural Practice when applying pesticides. In this connection, consumption of food with pesticide residues higher than the MRLs will not necessarily lead to any adverse health effects.
The spokesman reminded the food trade to ensure that food for sale is fit for human consumption and meets legal requirements. Consumers should patronise reliable shops when buying food and maintain a balanced diet to minimise food risks.      
Ends/Monday, December 31, 2018