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HK Gov't Urged to Strengthen Food Control
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Legislators in Hong Kong Thursday urged the government to strengthen measures on food safety as the fear of Sudan-dyed egg is getting intense in the community.

According to Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the test result on the third batch of egg samples again found Sudan Red, an industry used cancer-causing dye.

Last week, the mainland food authority found Sudan Red in duck eggs produced by a food company, which made the Hong Kong food authority alert about the local egg safety.

However, the Food Safety Center of Hong Kong said Monday that the Sudan dye eggs have not been imported into Hong Kong and therefore consumers should not worry about the egg problem, which is contradictory to government's Wednesday announcement about Sudan dye founded in eggs sold in local markets.

Hong Kong Acting Food Safety Center Controller Ho Yuk-yin said Wednesday Sudan dyes have been detected in samples of hen and duck eggs in Hong Kong. But he said since the Sudan level found in the tainted samples is low, the center considers the carcinogenic risk to the public low, adding there is no reason for undue concern.

Hong Kong's health chief York Chow Wednesday apologized for the previous misleading information about Sudan red eggs and vowed to strengthen food import scheme, especially the registration system for egg importers and producers.

He added that all the egg imports from Hunan Province were stopped until the health of the egg sources are confirmed. Besides, the department will try to establish a legal framework to register egg importers and make sure they have health certification for their products before import them to Hong Kong.

Chow admitted that Hong Kong faces tremendous challenge in terms of food safety, mainly because most of the food are being imported.

Hong Kong's Permanent secretary for Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Carrie Yau said Japanese technology of Quick Response code tagged on the food package is useful for tracing food resources. Hong Kong food authority may discuss on the feasibility of establishing such a system to strengthen food control.

Meanwhile, turbot fish, a favorite of Hong Kong people, was found containing malachite green, which is again urging the Hong Kong food authority to work hard on measures of food safety.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2006)

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