Consumer Council conducts genetic test on meatball samples, all lobster balls contain ZERO crustacean genes and beef balls contain pork genes


17th January 2022 – (Hong Kong) Meatballs are a must for hot pot and barbecue. The Consumer Council conducted a genetic test on meatballs for the first time and found that all 10 samples of lobster balls had no crustacean genes detected, and some of the samples were declared to contain lobster in the ingredient list.

The test also found that 60% (12 types) of beef balls or beef tendon ball samples contained pork genes and the proportion of pork genes in 2 samples was more than 50%. When purchasing meatballs, people with religious beliefs should pay attention to the meat content in the meatballs. The Council urged traders to increase the transparency of the meat and proportions used in the manufacture of meatballs, and to check the accuracy of the ingredient list for prepackaged meatballs. The Consumer Council tested 5 types of meatball samples on the market with a total of 60 types, including 24 prepackaged and 36 non-prepackaged meatball samples, with a total of 60 meatball samples, including 20 beef balls (beef balls and beef tendon balls), 10 types of pork balls, 10 types of fish balls, 10 types of cuttlefish balls and 10 types of lobster balls, the price ranges from HK$6.2 to HK$28.4 per 100 grams. The average price of lobster balls is the lowest at HK$8, while beef tendon balls are the lowest at HK$8. The highest sample costs 18.7 Hong Kong dollars.

Test items include genetic testing, heavy metals, preservatives, protein, fat and sodium content. In addition, the Consumer Council’s test also found that 75% (45 types) of meatball samples were “high-sodium” foods, and fish ball samples had the highest average sodium content. The sodium content of fish eggs alone (about 819 mg) already accounts for 41% of the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily sodium intake limit (2,000 mg). The Consumer Council reminds consumers to limit their intake of meatballs to avoid excessive sodium intake, which may affect health.