To understand the food safety situation of cereal grains and potato products sold in the local market, the Department of Food Safety of the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) collected a total of 60 samples of cereal grains and potato products sold in the local market for testing of food additives and mycotoxins. The results showed that no abnormalities were detected in them.
Cereal grains and their products are the common staple food of the public. However, they are susceptible to contamination by mycotoxins prior to and after harvest, such as in cultivation, harvest or storage of the harvested grains under conditions favourable to mould growth (e.g. warm and moist storage environment) before and after processing. In addition, suitable use of food additives in the cereal grains and potato products helps to preserve their flavours and extend their shelf life. However, if they are used improperly, they may put more burdens on the human body and pose a risk to health.
In this targeted food surveillance, IAM collected samples of cereal grains and potato products sold in local department stores, supermarkets and other shops. They were tested for mycotoxins (including aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A) and food additives (including sorbic acid, benzoic acid and sulfur dioxide). The results showed that no abnormalities were detected in any of the tested samples.
The Department of Food Safety reminds the public to buy food products from reputable shops, and they should check if the packages are intact and take note of the expiry date upon purchase. After purchase, the food products have to be properly stored according to the storage methods stated on the packages and opened food products should be consumed as soon as possible. For consumers buying overseas food products through online stores or buying agents, they have to consider the risks since it is difficult to verify whether their production, storage and transport conditions comply with food safety requirements. If consumers are doubtful about the quality of food products, they should not buy or eat them. Moreover, for some cereal grains and potato products that are rich in salt, residents are suggested to consume suitable amounts of them and maintain a balanced diet. As for individuals who are allergic to food additives, it is important to read the food labels on the packages upon buying the food products.
For the food trade, they should always import food products from reputable suppliers and make sure that their transport and storage conditions comply with hygiene standards. For example, cereal grain products should not be stored in a warm and moist environment to reduce their risk of contamination by mycotoxins. It is also the duty of the food trade to keep purchase and sales records and relevant receipts of goods to help competent authorities trace the source of food products and their distribution when necessary, so as to safeguard their own interests. They should not buy or sell any food products if they have doubts regarding their hygiene condition and quality.
IAM will continue to monitor the food safety risks and hygiene conditions of food products circulating in the market to safeguard the food safety in Macao. The results of this targeted food surveillance have already been uploaded to the “Food Safety Information” website (www.foodsafety.gov.mo) and “Food Safety Information" mobile application. Residents can browse the website or mobile application for details.