Hong Kong – Not to consume prepackaged ginger powder contaminated with Aflatoxins

CFS

Issue Date 5.7.2018
Source of Information Centre for Food Safety (CFS)
Food Product A batch of prepackaged ginger powder manufactured in India
Product Name and Description Product name: Organic Ginger Powder

Brand: SpiceBox

Place of origin: India

Distributor: SpiceBox Organics Limited

Net weight: 50 grams per pack

Best-before date: March 30, 2019

Reason For Issuing Alert
  • The CFS collected the above-mentioned sample from a shop in the Mid-levels for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The results showed that it contained aflatoxins at a level of 20 micrograms (µg) per kilogram. Under the Harmful Substances in Food Regulation (Cap 132 AF), the maximum permitted concentration for aflatoxins in food (except for peanuts or peanut products) is 15µg/kg.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO)’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified naturally occurring aflatoxins as carcinogenic to humans, and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives advised that intake of aflatoxins should be reduced to levels as low as reasonably possible although no health-based guidance value has been set. Aflatoxins can lead to liver cancer after long-term ingestion, and the risk for hepatitis B carriers is relatively high.
Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety
  • The CFS has informed the vendor concerned of the irregularity and the vendor has removed from shelves and stopped sale of the affected product according to the CFS’ instructions. Should there be sufficient evidence, prosecution will be instituted. The Centre is also tracing the source and distribution of the affected product.
  • The CFS will alert the trade, continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate action.
Advice to the Trade
  • Stop using or selling the affected product immediately if they possess it.
Advice to Consumers
  • Stop consuming the affected batch of the product if they bought it.
  • To avoid excessive intake of mycotoxins, people should maintain a balanced and varied diet to minimise the risk from a small range of food items, and to avoid consuming food that looks mouldy or damaged.

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