Date
19 November 2017
Many of the more affordable products made in Hong Kong and the mainland passed the test, with 67 percent and 50 percent of their samples being ranked excellent, respectively. Photo: HKEJ
Many of the more affordable products made in Hong Kong and the mainland passed the test, with 67 percent and 50 percent of their samples being ranked excellent, respectively. Photo: HKEJ

Nearly two in five edible oil products sold in HK are toxic

Nearly two in five edible oil products sold in Hong Kong contain toxic substances, tests show.

A biotech company has found that there are toxic substances in nearly 40 percent of oil products sold in Hong Kong and many of them are expensive, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The company used its own technology to conduct the tests.

Vitargent (International) Biotechnology, a start-up founded in 2010, collected 115 products from 58 brands from Hong Kong supermarkets, eateries and department stores between December last year and January.

Then it applied a technology used to screen acute toxicity, chronic toxicity and banned ingredients.

According Vitargent’s founder, Eric Chen, the technology can be used to test toxicity in food and skincare products.

The samples were categorized as “green fish”, “yellow fish” or “red fish” to help consumers identify product safety.

Green Fish means “excellence” in safety and consumers can rest assured that the products are safe for purchase. Yellow fish means “basic” in safety and consumers are recommended to purchase with caution. Red fish means “sub-optimal” in safety, indicating a product is below standard in one or more criteria and consumers are recommended to purchase with extra caution.

According to the results, 49 of the 115 samples were green fish. There were 23 yellow fish and 43 red fish.

Olive oil and coconut oil, which are generally believed to be healthier by most consumers, had below average results. About 62 percent of the former’s samples were red fish and 40 percent for the latter.

In addition, most oil samples imported from Europe were also found to be red fish, including one truffle oil that costs HK$2,084 per liter.

In contrast, many of the more affordable ones made in Hong Kong and the mainland passed the test, with 67 percent and 50 percent of their samples being green fish, respectively.

Vitargent chief executive Jimmy Tao said tests conducted on edible oil products by the government are limited to only a few number of toxic substances such as benzo(a)pyrene, aflatoxins, and heavy metals and don’t cover others such as highly toxic lipid peroxidation products, pesticide residue and preservatives.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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