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Shek Tong Tsui Market fresh beef sample found to contain sulphur dioxide

Shek Tong Tsui Market fresh beef sample found to contain sulphur dioxide

Hong Kong food safety watchdog said on Wednesday that a fresh beef sample from Shek Tong Tsui Market they tested was found to contain sulphur dioxide, a preservative which is not permitted to be used in fresh meat.
The Centre for Food Safety said they have collected the sample from a stall inside the market for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme, in which the results showed that the sample contained sulphur dioxide at a level of 10 parts per million.

A spokesman for the center said they are now following up on the case and has informed the vendor concerned of the irregularity.

“Should there be sufficient evidence, prosecution will be instituted,” said the spokesman.

According to the Preservatives in Food Regulation, it is an offence to add sulphur dioxide to fresh or chilled meat. The maximum penalty is a HK$50,000 fine and six months' imprisonment.

The center noted that individual meat traders have been found illegally using sulphur dioxide to make meat look fresher.

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 spokesman reminded the food trade to comply with the law and not to sell fresh or chilled meat adulterated with sulphur dioxide. Members of the public were also reminded to purchase meat from reliable market stalls or fresh provision shops.

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