19th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has revealed that a batch of prepackaged scallop-flavoured noodles, branded as Select and originating from China, has tested positive for sulphur dioxide, a preservative not listed on the food label. Although sulphur dioxide is permitted in certain foods, it must be declared with its functional class and name. The CFS advises the public to refrain from consuming the affected batch, and it has instructed the trade to immediately cease using or selling the product if they possess it.
The sample in question was obtained by the CFS during routine food surveillance from a supermarket in Sham Shui Po. While the sulphur dioxide level in the sample falls within permissible limits under the Preservatives in Food Regulation (Cap. 132BD), the lack of declaration for the preservative on the food label is a violation. The CFS has notified the concerned vendor about the irregularities and mandated the removal of the affected batch from shelves. PARKnSHOP (HK) Limited, the distributor, has promptly initiated a recall in accordance with the CFS’s instructions. For information about the recall, the public can contact their hotline at 2606 8658 during office hours.
Sulphur dioxide is commonly used as a preservative in various food products, such as dried vegetables, dried fruits, pickled vegetables, and salted fish. While the compound is soluble in water and can be reduced through washing and cooking, individuals with allergies to sulphur dioxide may experience respiratory issues, headaches, and nausea after consumption.
The CFS spokesperson emphasised that the food trade must comply with the Preservatives in Food Regulation (Cap. 132BD) regarding the use of preservatives. Additionally, the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations (Cap. 132W) stipulate that all prepackaged food for sale in Hong Kong containing sulphite at a concentration of 10 parts per million or higher must specify the functional class and name of the sulphite in the ingredient list. Violators of these regulations may face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment upon conviction.
The CFS will continue to notify the trade about this incident and conduct further investigations as necessary to ensure compliance with food safety regulations.