Food analysis in Hong Kong has progressed into a high tech mode. This has been demonstrated by the Hong Kong Consumer Council - a qualitative watchdog organized under its own Ordinance but not given anything other than advisory responsibilities.
The Council adopt testing for DNA in prepackaged meat and fish balls for soup noodles which is of course distinctive as regards, firstly, lobster DNA and, secondly, crustacean DNA. On the other hand meat product cow DNA is distinctive and clearly differentiated from pig DNA and chicken DNA.
The Council works on the principal that ingredient listing on pre-packaged meat or fish balls is a fundamentally entitled consumer right for accurate and correct information.
In a recent test all 10 lobster ball sample testing were not detected with any crustacean DNA for lobsters - indeed one of the samples listed "lobster" in its ingredient list. Only two samples indicated that they were not made from real lobster by naming their products "lobster-flavoured meat balls" and "imitation lobster balls" respectively. The issue of whether or not these inaccurate and misleading permissions are actionable under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance is currently being reviewed by the Customs & Excise Department upon reference by the Consumer Council.
14 beef balls and 6 beef tendon ball samples were tested and only 7 were found to contain 100% of cow DNA. 65% (13 samples) were detected also to contain pig DNA and/or chicken DNA and 8 of these samples even had a lower proportion of cow DNA as compared with pig and chicken DNA which turned out to be the majority content. The beef ball DNA sample with the highest ratio pig DNA was found to contain 57% pig and 43% cow DNA. The beef ball sample with the lowest ratio of cow DNA had only 13% of cow DNA with the remaining 86% belonging to chickens.
The Council warns that this inaccurate, wrong and certainly misleading advertised content can search the effect consumers with religious food tabus or personal dietary needs.
Only 3 out of 10 cuttlefish ball samples contained 100% cuttlefish DNA. The remaining 7 carried squid DNA that ratio is ranging from 55% to 100% clearly requiring accurate identification to be as "squid" balls rather than "cuttlefish" balls. The final damnatory conclusion was to find that if an individual completely eats all the fish balls, rice noodles and even the soup base, his meal would amount to a total sodium intake of around 2,013mg exceeding the daily intake limit for adults.
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