95% of meat passes safety test in HK

20:50, October 27, 2009      

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The Center for Food Safety of Hong Kong Tuesday said 95 percent of 222 samples of meat have passed a test on the use of sulphur dioxide.

The center collected samples of pork, beef and mutton from local meat stalls. Nine fresh beef and two fresh pork samples were found to contain the preservative at levels exceeding the legal limit.

The test was conducted after repeated detections of the use of non-permitted chemicals in fresh meat in recent years.

Under the Preservatives in Food Regulation, sulphur dioxide cannot be added to fresh, chilled or frozen meat. Offenders are liable to six months' jail and a 50,000 HK dollars (about 6,458 U.S. dollars) fine.

The center has issued warning letters to the sellers concerned and taken more samples for testing.

According the Food and Environmental Health Department of Hong Kong, sulphur dioxide is low toxicity and does not pose a serious health threat.

It is water-soluble and most of the chemical can be removed through washing and cooking. But people allergic to the preservative can have breathing difficulties, headaches and nausea.

Source: Xinhua
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