Analytical & Advisory Services Division

Additives, Contaminants and Composition Section

About the Section

The Section mainly provides analytical and advisory services to support the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department for the protection of public health and safety and for support of its statutory functions under various regulations and ordinances. Its work include the examination of additives and contaminants in food samples, composition and labelling of food products, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and food allergens. Analytical reports produced by the Section are admissible in courts of law as evidence of compliance or otherwise with the legislative requirements.

Digital Polymerase Chain Reaction System

Digital Polymerase Chain Reaction System

Responsibilities

The Section helps to implement the following legislations:

  • Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance
  • Colouring Matter in Food Regulations
  • Dried Milk Regulations
  • Sweeteners in Food Regulations
  • Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations
  • Harmful Substances in Food Regulations
  • Mineral Oil in Food Regulations
  • Preservatives in Food Regulations

Quality Assurance

About 20% of the tests conducted in the Section are for quality assurance purposes.

This Section also participates on a regular basis in the inter-laboratory proficiency testing programmes organized by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs of UK, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, etc.

Key Instruments

The following instruments are used routinely by the Section:

  • Automatic Gel Permeation Chromatograph
  • Gas Chromatograph with various detectors
  • Gas Chromatograph with High Resolution Mass Spectrometer
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatograph with Ultraviolet/Visible Detector, Scanning Fluorescence Detector, Photodiode Array Detector and Differential Refractometer Detector
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatograph with Tandem Mass Spectrometer
  • Digital Polarimeter
  • Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction System
  • DNA Sequencing System
  • Digital Polymerase Chain Reaction System
  • Automated DNA Extraction and Detection System
  • Automated Polymerase Chain Reaction Set-up System
  • DNA Hybridisation System
Gas Chromatograph with High Resolution Mass Spectrometer

Gas Chromatograph with High Resolution Mass Spectrometer

Targets and Key Indicators

Key Performance Measures Relating to the Statutory Testing of Food Samples

Targets #
Targets 2019 (Actual) 2020 (Actual) 2021 (Plan)
88§ 96 96 88

Targets 2019 (Actual) 2020 (Actual) 2021 (Plan)
100 100 100 100

Targets 2019 (Actual) 2020 (Actual) 2021 (Plan)
95 99 99 95

# For targets where reporting time is mentioned, different samples require different analytical procedures, hence different reporting time. The quoted number of working days required represents an average of reporting time for the different types of samples and test requests within the category, while the target (in percentage) is the total compliance rate of the concerned samples and test requests within a particular category against their respective targets.

§ The target is revised from 86 per cent to 88 per cent as from 2020.

Key Indicators
Tests Performed on Food Samples 2019 (Actual) 2020 (Actual) 2021 (Estimate)
Food complaint samples 6,554 4,523 10,000
Urgent samples relating to food incidents 219 46 N.A.@
Other food samples 197,886 197,193 190,000

@ As the testing requirements for urgent samples relating to food, pharmaceuticals and Chinese medicine incidents respectively fluctuated in previous years, it is difficult to estimate the occurrence of the type of incidents or the number of tests required.

Key Performance Measures Relating to the Advisory and Investigative Services of Pesticides Formulation, Seepage and Swimming Pool Water Samples

Targets #
Targets 2019 (Actual) 2020 (Actual) 2021 (Plan)
93 100 100 93

Targets 2019 (Actual) 2020 (Actual) 2021 (Plan)
96 100 100 96

# For targets where reporting time is mentioned, different samples require different analytical procedures, hence different reporting time. The quoted number of working days required represents an average of reporting time for the different types of samples and test requests within the category, while the target (in percentage) is the total compliance rate of the concerned samples and test requests within a particular category against their respective targets.

Key Indicators
Tests Performed on Pesticides Formulation,
Seepage and Swimming Pool Water Samples
2019 (Actual) 2020 (Actual) 2021 (Estimate)
Pesticides formulation samples 334 330 310
Seepage and swimming pool water samples 41,844 44,665 40,000