Hong Kong's consumer watchdog has found cancer-causing substances in all 60 pre-packaged biscuit samples it tested, according to its report released on Monday (Oct. 18).
The biscuits were found to contain the genotoxic carcinogens glycidol or acrylamide, or both, which are contaminants produced during processing.
Hong Kong Consumer Council's report also found that about 40 per cent of these biscuits had inaccurate nutrition labels.
Hup Seng, Ritz and Jacob's crackers among those found to have highest level of carcinogens
According to the report, animal testing revealed that glycidol and acrylamide may induce cancer.
The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) said that it is inappropriate to specify intake limits for genotoxic carcinogens and instead suggested that one's intake should be "as low as reasonably practicable".
The full list of biscuits were not released in the report, but South China Morning Post (SCMP) compiled a list of biscuits with the highest level of carcinogens.
Notably, these include Hup Seng Special Cream Crackers, Ritz Crackers Cheese Flavoured Sandwich, Jacob's Original Cream Crackers and Oreo Mini Oreo Original, which had high levels of glycidol.
Muji's Shiruko Sandwich Cracker was found to have the highest levels of acrylamide among those sampled.
Misleading nutrition labels
40 per cent of the biscuits tested were also found to have inaccurate nutrition labels.
The nutrient contents of some biscuits were found to have discrepancies that exceeded the stipulated tolerance limit.
According to SCMP, Hup Seng Special Cream Crackers and Jacob's Original Cream Crackers were among those with the highest discrepancies.
Jacob's crackers were found to contain more than four times the listed amount of sugar, while Hup Seng's crackers had six times the listed amount of dietary fibre.
Malaysian health ministry to investigate biscuit makers
In response to the report, Malaysia's health ministry said that they are conducting checks on premises that make three popular biscuit and cracker brands, according to Malay Mail.
Bloomberg reported that based on preliminary investigations by the ministry's Food Safety and Quality Division, Hup Seng's factory premises hold HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and health ministry certificates.
The division will also conduct checks on the company's premises.
According to Bloomberg, Hup Seng said its "special cream crackers manufactured and marketed in Malaysia are fit for human consumption and are in compliance with the local regulations, quality standards and food safety standards".
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