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Enjoy Your Hot Pot, Free From Food Safety Concerns

【Update Date:2022-02-25unit:食品組

The hot summer has long been away. In the deep cold winter, sharing delicious food items from a boiling hot pot with your bosom friends warms not only your stomach but also your heart. In recent years, however, concerns have arisen on the safety of food additives, including the concentrated soup and ingredient powder cubes ready to use in hot pots. A certain degree of concerns on the safety of food additives has aroused contradictory feelings among the consumers about enjoying hot pots. They can’t wait to dig in but feel hesitant when thinking about the risks.

Natural ingredients in hot pots such as fresh vegetables, meat and seafood are of course healthful. What cause concerns are the food additives. The concerns, though, need not be overstated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has, by referring to international standards, stipulated the Standards for Specification, Scope, Application and Limitation of Food Additives. There is no risk of hazards to health if these Standards are strictly followed in the production of food products. For example, preservatives such as "Sorbic acid" and "benzoic acid" may be legally added to the ingredients made of fish products in order to prolong the shelf life; curdlan gum may be used in order to offer chewiness; and flavoring agents such as "Glycine", " Sodium5’-Inosinate" and "Sodium 5'–Guanylate" can be added in order to enhance the flavor. The prudent and legal use of food additives serves bacteriostatic functions and enhances flavor and taste, so that consumers can enjoy safe, high-quality and diverse food.

To protect the health and food safety of the consumers and their right of access to the information on the food they consume, FDA has stipulated the "Regulations on the Labeling of Information of Soup Bases for Hot Pot Products Directly Served in Food and Beverage Premises". All the ingredients and food additives need to be clearly labeled. The information shall not be in false or vague statements like “high-class ingredients” and “prepared over hours.” And no information cover-up is allowed with the excuse of business secret.

To ensure the safety of hot pot consumption, health authorities conduct regular inspections on hot pot service operators, regulating the use of processed food and additives in seasonings, and the labeling of content in the hot pot soup bases.

       The FDA would remind consumers to buy products with good reputation and complete and clear labeling, and avoid buying products in bulk, from unknown sources, or without clear information of the ingredients, shelf life and manufacturers. In addition, hot pot food ingredients must be well cooked, and fresh and cooked ingredients should be handled with different tongs to avoid cross-contamination and food poisoning. Last but not least, for either a full-fledged feast or just a light meal, please always observe the principles of a balanced diet as the best way to maintain health!