With the Chinese New Year just around the corner, people are getting busy to prepare various festive foods to share with their families and friends. However, according to recent food sampling results from Macau and neighbour cities, some festive foods were found to contain prohibited colouring agents or have used preservatives or sulphur dioxide that were higher than permitted level. Thus, food industry and public are advised to observe below tips when manufacturing, selecting or consuming festive foods.
Safety Tips to the Industry
1. Purchase hygienic and fresh raw materials from reliable suppliers;
2. Store raw materials under suitable environment and at a proper temperature. Follow the First In First Out (FIFO) principle for food storage;
3. Ensure good personal, food and environmental hygiene practices throughout the manufacturing process;
4. When using food additives, industry should comply with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) to ensure the usage is just appropriate to achieve their intended purposes.
Safety tips to the Public
1. Obtain foods from licensed stores: Obtain foods from licensed stores with good reputation; don’t buy foods from unlicensed ones;
2. Avoid products without a clear labeling: Clear labeling should include product’s name, ingredients, expiry date, net weight, details about the manufacturers, country of origin etc. and should readily be read by the consumers;
3. Avoid products without an identified source: Product’s name and country of origin should be stated clearly for non-packaged foods. Since it is quite difficult to trace back the source of non-packaged foods, we should be more careful when choosing;
4. Avoid products of which the package is torn or opened: Do not choose frozen products which show signs of thawing. Return home immediately after purchasing chilled or frozen products and store the products under appropriate temperatures (for chilled products 0 - 4℃; for frozen products -18℃or below);
5. Avoid buying products which looks too colorful or bright: Choose foods with natural color. Do not purchase foods which look too colorful or too bright as excessive amount of artificial colors or food additives may have been added;
6. Check the food carefully before buying or eating: If abnormal smell or moulds are found, discard the food immediately regardless of its expiry date;
7. Avoid buying large amount of food at the same time: Do not purchase large amount of food at the same time to avoid prolonged or improper storage. Food should be consumed before the expiry date;
9. Thoroughly cook or reheat food until its core temperature reaches at least 75℃ or above. Consume it as soon as possible;
10. Stop eating and discard food immediately once it is expired, spoiled, moulded or found with objectionable smell.
Lastly, when celebrating Chinese New Year with families and friends, remember to maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too much festive foods which are high in fat or sugar.