Hong Kong Consumer Council Finds Contaminants in 90% of Cooking Oil Samples

Hong Kong’s Consumer Council said Monday it had found at least one contaminant in more than 90 percent of the cooking oil samples it tested.

Out of the 50 cooking oil samples, including extra virgin olive oils, olive oils, avocado oils, coconut oils, camellia oils, sunflower oils, rice bran oils, grapeseed oils, corn oils, canola oils, soybean oil, peanut oils, and blended oils, the council found contaminants in 47. 

The council found glycidol, a genotoxic carcinogen, in 29 samples, while another two contained benzo[a]pyrene. Plasticizer was also found in one sample.

Potential carcinogenic chemical 3-MCPD, formed when oil undergoes high-temperature refinement, was also detected in 60 percent of the samples. According to Consumer Council, 3-MCPD was seen in extra virgin olive oils despite not undergoing high-temperature refinement.

The council also noted that the information on the label of some cooking oil showed discrepancies with the actual product content. 

“The most severe case was the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content for 1 sample, which had a variance of 85% with the labeled value,” the council said.

The council urged cooking oil manufacturers to ensure their products’ quality and safety and provide accurate information on product labels.

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