Undeclared allergen (sulphur dioxide and sorbic acid) found in prepackaged date sample

Issue Date 5.1.2021
Source of Information

Centre for Food Safety (CFS)

Food Product

Prepackaged date

Product Name and Description

Product name: (Not available in English)

Place of origin: China

Distributor: Premier Food Ltd

Net weight: 450 grams per pack

Best-before date: December 31, 2021

Reason For Issuing Alert
  • Subsequent to announcing earlier that a prepackaged date sample taken from an online shop was detected with excessive preservative and in breach of the food labelling regulation, the CFS took another date sample from the same distributor from a shop in a shopping centre in West Kowloon for testing during follow-up investigations. The test result showed that the sample contained sorbic acid at a level of 69 parts per million (ppm) and sulphur dioxide at a level of 41 ppm. Although the levels are within the legal limits, the functional class and names of the two additives were not declared on the food label of the sample.
  • Sulphur dioxide is a commonly used preservative in a variety of foods including dried vegetables, dried fruits, pickled vegetables and salted fish products. Sulphur dioxide is water soluble, and most of it can be removed through washing and cooking. However, susceptible individuals who are allergic to this preservative may experience breathing difficulties, headaches and nausea after consumption.
Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety
  • The CFS has informed the vendor concerned of the irregularity. The distributor concerned has initiated a recall on the affected batch of the product according to the CFS's instructions.
  • The CFS will alert the trade, continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action. Investigation is ongoing.
Advice to the Trade
  • Stop using or selling the affected batch of the product immediately if they possess it.
Advice to Consumers
  • Should not consume the affected batch of the product.
Further Information

The CFS press release

Members of the public may call its hotline at 2291 6216 during office hours for enquiries about the recall.

Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department