Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Allergy Alert: Sulfur Dioxide in Hong Kong Meats

The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety announced today that it had found traces of sulfur dioxide in 19 out of 291 samples of beef and pork. The levels of sulfur dioxide in  the 19 positive samples ranged between 10 ppm and 2,100 ppm.

Sulfur dioxide is a permitted preservative in certain processed foods, when declared on the ingredient label. It should not be present in fresh or frozen meats.

Most people can consume foods containing permitted levels of sulfur dioxide without ill effects. But individuals who are sensitive to this preservative may experience severe, possibly life-threatening allergic reactions upon consuming a food containing sulfur dioxide.

The CFS is conducting follow-up investigations, and sending warning letters to the sellers of the sulfur dioxide-contaminated beef and pork. In addition, CFS reminds Hong Kong consumers to only buy their meat from reputable vendors.

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