As the Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau, the Health Bureau and the Consumer Council jointly conducted tests on 40 samples of mooncakes available in local retail outlets in order to safeguard public health and food safety. Test results showed that one sample of Guangdong mooncakes contained traces of Sudan dyes, with an overall satisfactory rate of 97.5%. The authorities have urged the shop concerned to immediately stop producing and selling the product. No abnormalities were found in the other tested items.
The samples taken for testing included 24 traditional Guangdong mooncakes, 6 snowy mooncakes and 10 Chaozhou-style mooncakes. The microbiological tests conducted covered E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus, and chemical tests covered preservatives and Aflatoxin B1, while samples containing egg yolks are additionally tested for Sudan dyes. According to test results, one sample of Guangdong mooncakes contained traces of Sudan dyes, and the authorities have immediately requested the shop concerned to stop the production and sale of the product.
To prevent and reduce food safety risk, the authorities remind the food industry to purchase food ingredients from reliable suppliers and not to buy food ingredients from unknown sources. Purchase and sale records should be kept for source-tracing when necessary. It is advisable to check the hygiene condition of food ingredients before food preparation, maintain good personal hygiene, and observe the hygiene condition of mooncakes and pay attention to temperature control as appropriate during production, storage, transportation and display of such food products to ensure food safety and hygiene.
Meanwhile, residents are advised to buy mooncakes from reputable and hygienic shops. When purchasing these food products, one should check the expiry date and integrity of packaging, and observe if they show any signs of mould or abnormalities. One should also read food labels on packages carefully and pay attention to the storage instructions. Conventional mooncakes, before removal of their packages, should be stored by following the storage instructions given on food labels or in a well-ventilated place. Mooncakes with packages removed should be consumed as soon as possible or wrapped properly for refrigeration at below 5℃. Snowy mooncakes, which do not need to undergo a baking process at high temperature during the production process, tend to pose a higher risk of microbiological contamination. Therefore, special attention is required for their storage temperature and environment. They should be stored at below 5℃ and consumed as soon as possible.
In addition, mooncakes are food items with large amount of oil, sugar and calories. It is advisable to keep a balanced diet while celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. Patients who suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, high blood lipid and high blood cholesterol should avoid excessive consumption of these food items.