Tinned meats loaded with salt

Local | Stella Wong Jun 16, 2017
Six out of 25 luncheon meat samples tested had more sodium than labeled while one contained a drug residue that could cause an allergic reaction, the Consumer Council says.

In addition to the luncheon meat, the consumer watchdog also tested eight samples of canned sausages.

The council said it found 199.3 micrograms of the veterinary drug "sulphonamide antibiotic" in a tin of Maling luncheon meat, which if taken in large quantities can cause reactions such as hives, rash and swollen face, mouth and tongue.

However the council's research and testing committee chairman, Wong Kam-fai, said an adult would have to consume 15 kilograms of the meat each day to reach the limit. He added that it could also create a higher risk for antibiotic resistant bacteria to survive in the human body.

The test found that Greatwall Brand's "chopped pork and ham" had 25 percent more sodium than stated, breaching Centre for Food Safety guidelines.

The council also found that the majority of the luncheon meat samples high in sodium also had a high fat content, with 759 Store's Pork Luncheon Meat reaching 1,180 milligrams per 100 grams.

Wong said a person would exceed the WHO daily limit of 2,000mg by consuming just half a can.

One of the three "less sodium" samples, "SPAM 50 percent less sodium than the SPAM Classic," contained 699mg sodium per 100g, which is still higher than the level of "high sodium" as specified by the UK's Food Standards Agency (600mg/100g).

The test also found that the sodium content of the sausage sample "Princes' Hot Dogs 8's" was wrongly labeled as 1.5mg per 100g as the test indicated there was 851mg per 100g, exceeding the labeled amount by 560 times.

"Processed meat has been classified as a group one carcinogen to humans by the World Health Organization since 2015," Wong said.

"Consuming an excessive amount of the luncheon meat products over a long period of time may increase exposure to health risks such as obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney problems."

He said two slices of luncheon meat and two sausages for breakfast would amount to more than 60 percent of the daily intake limit recommended by the WHO.

"Adding bread or instant noodles to the breakfast would exceed the daily limit of sodium," Wong said.

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June 2017