Mind your spice products - ? contain Carcinogens.

Dried spices can contain aflatoxins (AFs) or ochratoxin A (OTA) or both. These are both mycotoxins which are produced by fungi and have carcinogenic properties according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer ("IARC").

The Hong Kong Consumer Council without statutory teeth of prevention nonetheless performs an important watchdog role and has revealed that more than half of the 44 dried spices on sale in Hong Kong were tested to find these mycotoxins. The Council has publicized this together with an urging of manufacturers to improve production to minimise mycotoxins inclusion during the drying process and to preserve the finished products in good condition. AFs were found in nut meg products from the United States and from a local spice selling company. The American producer took up an arguing point with the Council but the local producer noted that there were problems in stocking the product and the producer had recorded and destroyed the batch of goods in question.

The tests by the Council found that 18 out of 44 samples contained OTA noting that the European Union had regulations on upper limit concentration of OTA and recommended introduction of a recommended upper limit in Hong Kong.

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