All 60 biscuits samples tested by Consumer Council are carcinogenic and they inhibit fertility


18th October 2021 – (Hong Kong) The Consumer Council tested 60 pre-packaged biscuits samples by MARIE, PEPERO, OREO, ARNOTT’s Country Cheese, RITZ, Essential Waitrose, NUT-THINS, PRETZ etc on the market and concluded that all samples were found to produce contaminants during processing, including traces of glycidol and acrylamide, the former is neurotoxic and inhibits fertility while the latter can cause reproductive and developmental problems if ingested for a long time. Over 75% of the samples detected three contaminants at the same time, another 85% were “high-fat”, “high-sugar” or “high-sodium” foods. In the test, 57 samples were equipped with nutrition labels. Among them, the nutrient content detected in 23 samples exceeded the specified tolerance limit. The saturated fatty acid content detected in one cracker sample was even more inconsistent with the label. The difference is up to 76 times. The Consumer Council reminds consumers of the health risks of eating various types of biscuits, and urges manufacturers to improve their production formulas to reduce contaminants, fats, sugars and sodium in foods.

The biscuit samples tested this time include 17 types of crackers, waffles biscuits and 7 types of bread sticks etc. The test items cover the food safety and nutrient content of each sample, and the accuracy of their nutrition labels are compared. Samples were tested to see if they contain contaminants such as glycidol, acrylamide and chloropropylene glycol. Glycidyl alcohol and acrylamide can cause cancer in laboratory animals, both of which are genetic carcinogens. The test found that 90% of the samples, that is, 54 models, were found to contain glycidol, with the content ranging from 11 micrograms per kilogram to >3,900 micrograms.

Among them, “Fu Shan Chi Pan” cheese-flavoured soda crackers, exceeded the detection limit of the German test method, which contained more than 3,900 micrograms of glycidol per kilogram. The Consumer Council then commissioned a third-party laboratory to confirm the results with another test method. The glycidol detected in the sample was 3,100 micrograms per kilogram.

The test results also showed that about 92%, or 55 samples, were found to contain acrylamide, with the content ranging from 32 micrograms to 620 micrograms per kilogram. Among them, 4 models exceeded the EU benchmark level set for general biscuits and wafers, and 3 models of cracker samples exceeded the EU benchmark level set. The test found that 56 samples were detected with 3-MCPD, the content of which varies greatly, ranging from 15 micrograms to 2,000 micrograms per kilogram. According to the recommendations of the European Food Safety Agency, a 60 kg adult should not consume more than 120 micrograms of 3-MCPD per day.

46 samples were found to have trans fatty acids, and the highest content wafer sample contained 1.36 grams of trans fatty acids per 100 grams. Based on this calculation, the trans fatty acids consumed by eating 12 pieces (approximately 86.4 grams) are more than half of the daily limit (2.2 grams) recommended by the WHO. Another 27 samples meet the definition of “high sugar” (that is, more than 15 grams of sugar per 100 g of solid food), among them, the sample with the highest sugar content contains 42.0 g per 100 g. If one serving is consumed ( 30 grams, half a box) i.e. 12.6 grams of sugar, it will account for about 25% of the daily limit for adults recommended by the WHO (calculated as 50 grams of sugar based on the daily energy intake of 2,000 kcal). There are also 13 samples that can be defined as “high sodium” foods (that is, more than 600 mg of sodium per 100 g of solid food). Among them, the sample with the highest sodium content contains 1,090 mg per 100g.

In addition, 3 of the test samples were exempted from nutrition labelling. It was found that the nutrient content declared in 23 samples did not meet the requirements of the test results. Among them, the total fat content of 5 samples, the saturated fatty acid content of 8 samples, the trans fatty acid content of 1 sample, the sodium content of 7 samples, the sugar content of 5 samples and the dietary fibre content of 2 samples, the difference is more than 20%. According to the “Technical Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling and Nutrition Claims” of the Centre for Food Safety; the most serious gap is the saturated fatty acid content of a sample of cream cracker, the label indicates 0.08 g per 100 g, but the test result is as high as 6.13 g. The difference between the two is nearly 76 times.