Bee Cheng Hiang's beef bak kwa alleged to have potentially carcinogenic compounds, SFA says no health risk eating in moderation

Bee Cheng Hiang says Hong Kong's consumer watchdog used outdated regulations.

Kerr Puay Hian | March 17, 2023, 03:17 PM

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Hong Kong consumer watchdog Hong Kong Consumer Council (HKCC) released a report on Wednesday (Mar. 15) stating that they found 40 per cent of dried meat snacks products sold in Hong Kong they tested to have high levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Exceeds EU limit by half

The council claimed that PAHs are potentially carcinogenic.

Their test conducted between October and November 2022 showed that out of 30 samples of meat jerky, meat floss and meat crisps, they found 13 to contain PAHs.

It also claimed that Bee Cheng Hiang's packaged beef bak kwa (barbecued meat jerky) had four kinds of PAHs exceeding the European Union limit by over 50 per cent — the highest level of all samples.

SFA says safe in moderation

In response to Mothership's queries, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said:

"When consumed in moderation, PAHs in grilled and processed meats will not pose a health risk. For consumers with a balanced and varied diet, this is no cause for concern."

SFA's website stated that when meat is cooked by high heat, like grilling and pan frying over an open flame, substances such as PAHs and Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed.

While studies have associated both substances with cancer risk, the amount needed to pose a health risk is much higher than what an average person would consume.

Bee Cheng Hiang says HK authorities confirmed product to be safe

Bee Cheng Hiang told Mothership that in HKCC's report, the Hong Kong Centre of Food Safety had already given their assessment and advised that the detected PAHs have little impact on public health.

The food safety authority also reassured the public of the safety of consuming the products through various media reports.

Bee Cheng Hiang's spokesperson also clarified that HKCC had used an outdated version of the EU regulations and is certain that their products adhere to the prevailing EU regulations.

Top image via Hk01