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Public warned against consuming dried daylily flowers containing excessive sulphur dioxide

Public warned against consuming dried daylily flowers containing excessive sulphur dioxide

2015-07-06 Reprint

Tag: vegetables food trade meat products

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The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department urged the public not to consume a kind of loose-pack dried daylily flowers containing sulphur dioxidetoday on July 3, a preservative, at a level exceeding the legal limit.

A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS collected a sample of loose-pack dried daylily flower from Kai Bo Food Supermarket on Kam Wah Street, Shau Kei Wan, for testing under its regular Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that it contained a preservative, sulphur dioxide, at a level of 20 000 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the legal limit of 500 ppm."

Sulphur dioxide is a commonly used preservative in a variety of foods including dried vegetables, dried fruits, pickled vegetables and meat products. This preservative is of low toxicity. As it is water soluble, most of it can be removed through washing and cooking. However, for individuals who are allergic to this preservative, there may be symptoms of shortness of breath, headache and nausea.

The spokesman said the Centre had informed the retailer concerned of the irregularity and instructed it to stop selling and remove from shelves the affected product. The CFS is tracing the source and distribution of the affected product. Prosecution will be considered.

The spokesman reminded the food trade that the use of preservatives in food must comply with the Preservatives in Food Regulation (Cap 132BD). Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months imprisonment upon conviction. Members of the public should buy food from reliable suppliers, and maintain a balanced diet so as to avoid excessive intake of certain harmful substances as a result of frequent consumption of a small range of food items.

He advised consumers who have bought the product and are allergic to sulphur dioxide to stop eating it. People should seek medical treatment if they feel unwell after taking the food.

The CFS will continue to follow up on the incident and take appropriate actions.

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