HK tests find most processed meats contain excessive sodium

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Meat

Hong Kong’s shopper watchdog has warned of high sodium levels in certain processed meats.

Following tests of 33 samples of luncheon meat and sausages, the Consumer Council found the majority contained levels that exceeded its recommended standards. In one case the sodium level was found to be 560 times the indicated amount. Antibiotics were identified in another product. 

The council’s limits are based on Britain’s Food Standards Agency regulations, which regard a sodium level of more than 600mg per 100 grams as high. In total, 28 of the samples fell under this category. 

The Consumer Council said that a sample of Maling premium pork luncheon meat was adulterated with sulfadimidine at a level at 199.3 micrograms/kg, presumably from contaminated feed. The antibiotic can lead to allergic reactions in a small percentage of people who consume it.

A sample of Princes Hot Dogs 8s contained around 851mg of sodium per 100 grams, compared to 1.5mg/100g listed on its nutrition label. The brand has since acknowledged the discrepancy and pledged to amend the label.

In general, processed meat products are not that good for one’s health​,” the council’s chief executive Gilly Wong said. “We advise people to balance their diets with more vegetables and examine the nutrition labels of those meat products carefully before purchasing them​.” 

Excessive sodium consumption has been linked to increased risks of hypertension and heart diseases. 

The consumer watchdog said it had sent the results to the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety, adding that it has been following up on the antibiotics case.

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, Meat, China, East Asia

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