Prepackaged preserved fruit sample detected with sulphur dioxide exceeding legal limit and in breach of food labelling regulation

Issue Date 28.12.2022
Source of Information

Centre for Food Safety

Food Product

Prepackaged preserved fruit

Product Name and Description

Product name: Honey Hawthorn


Net weight: 112 grams

Distributor: (Not available in English)

Best before date: March 30, 2023

Reason For Issuing Alert
  • The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) collected the above-mentioned preserved fruit sample from an online shop for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that the sample contained sulphur dioxide at a level of 205 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the legal limit of 100 ppm. The functional class and name of the additive were also not declared on the food label.
  • Sulphur dioxide is a preservative which can be used 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, headache and nausea after consumption.
  • The food trade that the use of preservatives in food must comply with the Preservatives in Food Regulation (Cap. 132BD). Furthermore, the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations (Cap. 132W) require that for all prepackaged food for sale in Hong Kong containing sulphite in a concentration of 10 ppm or more, the functional class of the sulphite and its name shall be specified in the list of ingredients. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment upon conviction.

Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety
  • The CFS has informed the vendor concerned of the irregularities and instructed it to stop sale and remove from shelves the affected batch of the product. The vendor concerned has initiated a recall of the affected batch of the product.
  • The CFS has alerted the trade and will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action. An investigation is ongoing.
Advice to the Trade
  • Stop using or selling the product concerned immediately if they possess it.
Advice to Consumers
  • People who are allergic to sulphur dioxide should not to consume the affected product if they have bought any.
Further Information

The CFS press release

Members of the public may call its hotline at 2556 5222 during office hours for enquiries about the recall of the product concerned.

Photos for reference only.

Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department