Supplier denies importing cooking oil containing carcinogen

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 4:36am

A cooking oil supplier has denied an allegation in local media that it imported and distributed oil containing a carcinogen that exceeds international safety limits.

Yuen Tze-fai, vice-chairman of Beidahuang (Hong Kong), told a radio programme yesterday his company was only responsible for packing the peanut oil that contained the carcinogen Benzopyrene. He said the oil was from another local company, which he did not name. "We've just helped [the company] for two months, and packed only one barrel of oil, weighing 200 kilograms."

On Tuesday, the Centre for Food Safety said that of oil samples taken from Beidahuang in Tuen Mun, Wing Hing Oil Factory in Kwai Chung, and several restaurants, four exceeded safety limits set by the European Union for Benzopyrene. The centre said two samples from Beidahuang had 16 and 17 micrograms of Benzopyrene per kilogram of oil. The EU's limit is two micrograms per kg, while the mainland allows 10 micrograms per kg.

Yuen said the two samples came from the single barrel it had packed for the unnamed company, and that all oil from his firm was safe. He said the oil it imported came solely from Canada.

Benzopyrene was found in two samples from the Wing Hing factory, at 5.8 and 6.2 micrograms per kg. Earlier media reports said the peanut oil Wing Hing sold to the restaurants came from Beidahuang. "The allegation is not true," Yuen said

Yuen said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the food safety centre had not issued a recall. An assistant director at the department, Dr Lee Siu-yuen, said the supplier and factory should issue a recall.