When you browse social media sites with your mobile phone, you always come across friends sharing photos of their baked products. Baking is an activity for all ages and people may think that only the production process is related to food safety. But in reality, the selection of raw materials at the beginning can affect the safety of the baked food. So as consumers, we are heavily responsible for ensuring food safety.
It requires many ingredients to make baked food. By reading the food labels on their packaging with care, you will notice that the places of origin of the ingredients can be distant countries like France, the United States, Australia and Canada, or neighbouring regions like China and Hong Kong. To get the desired products, all we have to do is choose and purchase them conveniently at supermarkets, department stores and baking supply stores.
Goods are nowadays transported and distributed by sea, by land or by air thanks to logistics sophistication. There is always a way to get the ingredients you want. However, consumers have no idea as to whether the quality of the ingredients is affected by the transportation process, or whether the ingredients have been exposed to contaminants and microbial contamination during production in their places of origin. In this respect, the Department of Food Safety of the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) monitors food safety incidents worldwide on a daily basis so as to order food production and operation establishments to recall food products according to the level of food hazards they pose and the extent of influence on local food supply. In addition, IAM performs regular assessment on the food safety risks of food available on the market through routine food surveillance, targeted food surveillance and seasonal food surveillance to ensure food safety for consumers.
IAM conducted targeted food surveillance* on the raw materials used in making baked food and bought a variety of raw materials from supermarkets, department stores and baking supply stores. 80 samples of the raw materials, including flour, premixes, milk powder, butter, chocolate paste, decorative items for baked food, etc., were tested for heavy metals, mycotoxins, preservatives, antioxidants and prohibited substances. No abnormality was detected in all of the tested raw materials.
As consumers, we also need to bear our responsibilities in purchase, storage, preparation and consumption. We should buy good quality and hygienic food ingredients from reputable stores or suppliers, and never purchase ingredients from unknown sources. We should also check if the packaging and appearance of food are normal, as well as the expiry dates. Food should be stored properly according to the storage instructions indicated on the packaging. Food ingredients to be stored at room temperature should be kept in a cool and well-ventilated place. Perishable ingredients should be stored properly in the refrigerator (refrigeration temperature at below 5℃ and freezing temperature at -18℃ or lower). Pay attention to personal and environmental hygiene during the preparation process to prevent cross-contamination, and food should be heated thoroughly. Before consumption, check the look of the baked food for any abnormalities, as well as the storage environment, temperature and time. Do not eat the food if it shows signs of abnormalities. We have to pay attention to every step to ensure food safety.
For more accurate food safety information, prompt alerts on seasonal food safety risks, and information about science popularisation of food safety with illustrations and text, you can search for “Food Safety Information of IAM” on the WeChat platform, or scan the QR code above to follow the WeChat official account of the Department of Food Safety of IAM to keep updated on latest information about food safety.
*For details of the targeted food surveillance, please refer to: https://www.foodsafety.gov.mo/c/foodinspec3/detail/1668b077-432f-403f-a2a2-dca2f3257cd8