Hong Kong consumer watchdog finds 60% of silicone food containers with volatile organic material

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The Consumers Council tested 14 models of collapsible silicone containers and cups and 60% of them contained levels of volatile organic matter (VOM) that can be harmful to liver health. The board said siloxanes are the main VOMs found in silicone materials. When siloxane levels are in excess, they can migrate onto food and affect food safety. He cited a study that found the HOV limit for silicone products in contact with food to be 0.5%.

However, test results revealed that a total of nine models exceeded the HOV limit, while only three models of food containers and two models of collapsible cups met the requirements. Of the models that exceeded the limit, six were food containers that had HOV levels of 0.76% to 1.3% for body and gasket materials; the other three were collapsible cups that had HOV levels of 0.8% to 1.4%. Only five models contained siloxanes that did not exceed the German limit, including products from IKEA, Gemini, Ideale Chef and two collapsible silicone mugs from Stojo and Lifeventure.

Since long-term contact with high doses of siloxanes can harm liver health, the consumer watchdog urged the government to establish relevant standards to protect the health of consumers, as Hong Kong has no regulations for VOM levels of silicone or rubber in contact with food. some products. Meanwhile, the Consumers Council has also informed consumers that the cover of some products may be made from different plastics or come in different shapes and designs, and they cannot be microwaved. .

The Consumers Council has suggested that there are several things that consumers can take note of when using collapsible silicone containers and cups. For example, before purchasing, consumers can check product labels for information or logos indicating compliance with safety standards or the food safe materials symbol. They can also wash and thoroughly clean new silicone products before using them.

Additionally, for microwave safe food containers with a vent on the lid, consumers are advised to keep the vent open while microwave heating to release steam and prevent pressure build-up.

Finally, the council advised brands that product labels should display correct use instructions and precautions in Chinese and English to make it easy for consumers to understand and use the product as intended in order to avoid accidents. . After examining the labeling information, it was found that only five models displayed information in both Chinese and English; seven models had information in English or Chinese; while two models did not carry safety warnings in Chinese or English. The board forwarded the relevant information to the Customs and Excise Department for follow-up action.

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Photo courtesy: 123RF

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