Veterinary drug residues in the form of antibiotics were found in a sample of luncheon meat tested by the Consumer Council, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The residues, identified as sulfonamide antibiotics sulfadimidine and amounting to 199.3 micrograms per kilogram, were found in a sample of Ma Ling Premium Luncheon Meat, the council said.
According to the recommendation of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives, daily intake of sulfadimidine should not exceed 0.05 milligram/kg of the body weight.
An adult weighing 60kg has to take about 15kg of the meat product to reach the daily intake limit for sulfadimidine, which means that it’s almost impossible to reach the limit.
Nevertheless, allergic reactions to sulfonamide antibiotics could still occur in about 3 to 6 percent of the population, with symptoms such as rashes and swollen face, mouth and tongue.
The council tested 25 luncheon meat brands and eight brands of canned sausages.
As for sodium content, the amounts in the 25 luncheon meat samples varied from 517mg to 1,180mg per 100g, or an average of 718mg per 100g.
Based on the WHO recommendation, the daily intake of sodium for an adult should not exceed 2,000mg.
So in the case of the luncheon meat product with the highest sodium content, consuming only half of the can’s content would exceed the recommended daily limit.
Meanwhile, the council also found the nutrition information on the labels of the six luncheon meat samples underestimated the actual sodium content in the products, with one model exceeding the amount shown on the label by 25 percent.
Sodium content in a sample of Princes Hot Dogs 8 was 560 times the amount shown on the label.
The council reminds consumers to consider the manufacturers’ claims as shown on the nutrition labels of the meat products with a grain of salt.
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