Beware of carcinogens in cooking oil: watchdog – RTHK

The Consumer Council on Monday warned shoppers to choose cooking oils carefully, after it found contaminants or carcinogens in some popular products from supermarkets and department stores.

The watchdog tested 50 samples of cooking oil and found that all but three contained one or more harmful contaminant, while around 60 percent had carcinogenic substances in them.

In two samples, it said, the levels of genotoxic carcinogens exceeded European Union safety standards.

The vice-chairman of the council’s research and testing committee, Lui Wing-cheong, said consumers should pay attention to nutrition labels and switch products from time to time.

“When selecting cooking oil, aside from paying heed to the information on the package and selecting products with a high nutritional value, consumers are also urged to switch their oil products regularly to ensure a balanced nutrient intake,” said Lui.

He advised people to reduce their use of high-temperature cooking methods that require a large amount of oil, to prevent health risks.

Separately, the council said it had received 522 complaints about food delivery platforms in the first half of this year – 30 percent up on the same period last year.

In particular, complaints about monthly subscription plans or membership schemes saw an increase.

The council said that in one case, a consumer had been unknowingly paying a monthly subscription fee for eight months, spending around HK$800 in total.

The council’s chief executive, Gilly Wong, urged food delivery platforms to improve transparency.

“It is very important that you have made them [customers] know the terms and conditions really clear before they press the button of subscribing to your trial month subscription or confirm to be subscribing. If it is too hidden in the terms and conditions under the fine print on your website, that may not be very desirable from a trade practices point of view,” she said.

Wong also reminded service users to carefully read the terms and conditions before committing to any monthly subscription plan.


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