The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (November 30) released the findings of its food safety report for last month. The results of about 13,300 food samples tested were satisfactory except for 21 samples that were announced earlier. The overall satisfactory rate was 99.8 per cent.
A CFS spokesman said about 1,000 food samples were collected for microbiological tests, some 3,900 samples were taken for chemical tests and the remaining 8,400 (including about 8,200 taken from food imported from Japan) were collected to test radiation levels.
The microbiological tests covered pathogens and hygiene indicators, while the chemical tests included pesticides, preservatives, metallic contaminants, colouring matters, veterinary drug residues and others.
The samples comprised about 3,300 samples of vegetables and fruit and their products; about 700 samples of cereals, grains and their products; about 900 samples of meat and poultry and their products; about 700 samples of milk, milk products and frozen confections; about 1,500 samples of aquatic and related products; and about 6,200 samples of other food commodities (including beverages, bakery products and snacks).
The 21 unsatisfactory samples comprised 10 frozen confection samples detected with counts of hygiene indicator organisms exceeding the legal limits, two red chilli samples and a prepackaged mantis shrimp sample found to contain excessive cadmium, a freshwater grouper sample and a rabbitfish sample found to contain trace amounts of malachite green, a sample of mala goose gizzard found to contain Salmonella, a sample of ground turmeric detected with a non-permitted colouring matter sudan dyes, a prepackaged candy sample detected with a non-permitted colouring matter Acid Red 52 and in breach of the food labelling regulation, a sample of prepackaged bamboo fungi found to contain excessive preservative and in breach of the food labelling regulation, a prepacked fresh beef sample found to contain sulphur dioxide and in breach of the food labelling regulation, and a sample of bottled chilli paste detected with an allergen, fish, undeclared on the food label.
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.
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.